Thursday, December 29, 2011
Taking a deep breath...
I've now been in Korea for almost a year and in not too many hours we'll be counting down to 2012 - amazing! After the school semester finished, I felt pretty frazzled and ready to collapse and take a looong rest. Now I'm getting excited for the new year. Moving to a different country, starting a new job, looking after children, and throwing my old routine out the window has been tremendously liberating, fun, and adventurous. It was quite a shake up and now I am ready to settle down a bit more and get centered again. This seems like a good time to reflect on the past year and figure out what I want to fit into the new one.
I used to think meditation was some exotic, unapproachable, mysterious activity that appeared humorous and soundly unnecessary. Then I tried it and felt incredibly good. Taking a few minutes in the morning to clear my head, consciously relax, and slow down my overly busy and cluttered thoughts is one of the healthiest and most energizing things that I can do. If I feel grumpy, stressed, overwhelmed, etc. I know this is what helps me most, but during most of this year I've neglected to take that time. The last few days I've gotten back into it and I feel sooo much better. It's like taking a luxurious bath for my mind haha...ahem, moving on now.
Before I left Canada, I got pretty comfortable in the kitchen and really enjoyed cooking soups, stews, stir-fries, and dabbling in baking. The last few months have featured very little cooking by me. I have a cute, brand new kitchen and though it is small, there's no reason for it to go unused. It's time for me reclaim the lead role in the kitchen and let the rice cooker step down to an assisting position. I had lots of excuses not to cook much - lack of energy after work, unfamiliarity with the ingredients here, living in an apartment surrounded by lovely and cheap restaurants - but the truth is I love cooking and I miss it a lot. It gives me energy, grounds me, and makes me feel nourished and healthy. It's also just fun!
3. Studying Korean
This is something I must do. I'm no longer a beginner but I'm far from being at a conversational level and I really really want to understand what people are saying all around me. I want to communicate and feel at ease and be more independent. So, my goal is to study every day, even if it's only for a few minutes. One day, I want to have an actual conversation with my boyfriend's parents.
4. Spending time in nature
Living in a big city here is very different from living by the ocean, surrounded by trees and natural beauty. I realize now that I took nature for granted. I could just step outside and breathe fresh air and feel inspired by beautiful ocean views. Parks and gardens and hiking trails were everywhere, so easily accessible. There is plenty of natural beauty in Korea and hiking in the mountains here can be breathtaking. However, it takes more effort to get to the mountains or the countryside. I haven't made enough of an effort this past year and I'm craving nature badly. I live quite close to some beautiful mountains so I will try to actually pay them a visit at least once a month.
So this is a boring one, but I do feel a lot better when I exercise regularly. During vacation it's not a problem, but it's hard to get motivated after a tiring day at work. So, even if I just hula hoop for ten minutes, do some jumping jacks, or pretend to execute some ballet moves, I will try to fit more conscious movement into each day.
The new year is just around the corner, and I feel excited, energized, and ready to celebrate! Hooray! :-)