The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

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?






The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck


Sound of Music
Arguably the most famous scene in The Sound of Music (look at her not give a fork)
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.

Just be Thankful.

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:

We did some white people stuff in Hawaii, like ATV-ing.

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.

A few of my cousins.
This is probably 1/10 of my family, every time they take a picture without me I look like I died.

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.

The Book of Joy

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?


Being Mr. Austria.

I totally understand why people become teachers and the payoff that stems from it. Teaching is one of the most difficult jobs in the world, but the kids make it worth it. Although I only knew my students for 14 weeks I have seen them grow and I have seen the hard work that they put into their work, I know that not all students have that kind of work ethic and some of them you wish were absent once in a while, but teaching is a hard gig, even though I only did it for a semester.

There was this paper that I read this semester called The Heart of a Teacher by Parker J. Palmer and the biggest concept that I got from that was that teaching is a daily exercise in vulnerability which I believe in 100%. Not only have I had the opportunity to see my students grow, my students were able to see me become “Mr. Austria” in front of their eyes. Teaching is a daily exercise in vulnerability because you need to build relationships with your students and it is something that you need to do daily. Building relationships with each and every one of your students holds them accountable and it holds you accountable to them. I believe that building relationships with your students and actually knowing your students is 75% of the job. I tried to make it a point to say each and every one of my students’ names every day when I saw them in the hallway.

On the last day of my internship one of my students said, “Mr. Austria, you really helped me a lot this year.” That’s when I knew it was totally worth it, through all of the tough times that I’ve had trying to manage the classroom and trying to teach the students something, they payoff was seeing my students actually grow into better versions of themselves. It was a fun ride being Mr. Austria for the semester and getting to know each and every one of my students, there may be a few bad days but the students always make it worth it.


An Open Letter to Unconditional Love

First and foremost I wanted to thank you for everything that you’ve done for me because without you I wouldn’t have learned how to give others unconditional love. What I wanted to tell you is that I’m finally graduating from college and sometimes I wish you were here to see it, but I know you’re in a much better place now. How are things up there? How’s Nanay?

I just wanted to let you know that I’m in a much better place than where I was when you left, I mean death is a hard thing to deal with. Here’s a recap of everything that’s been going on, especially this year. One of your grandkids is graduating college this year and three of your great-grandkids are graduating, one college and two high school. Your grandson is learning how to drive, he drove your car last week, but I don’t think he knew that.