Liz, Paula, and I had a lazy Sunday last weekend. We watched the documentary, The Secret, which reminded us of the power of positive thinking. Paula and I proceeded to create a gratitude list. I’m posting my list for me personally. I don’t want to just sit here bragging about how awesome my life is (well, it IS pretty awesome), but I hope to motivate others to create their own gratitude list. Instead of focusing on the negative things that might be happening at the present time, take a step back and think about some of the wonderful things you can’t possibly imagine life without.
I am thankful for…
… waking up every weekday morning feeling energized and willing to go to work. I love the unpredictability of the job; every day is different. I love walking or biking to school and seeing my students frantically wave to me while trying their best to speak English. My students and their smiling faces warm my soul. They’re not angels; they’re kids. They’re curious little sponges with a surplus of infectious energy. Not only is the actual job interesting, the perks are noteworthy. I get to live in a comfortable apartment (free of charge) in a foreign country, get 18 days of paid vacation to explore other nearby countries, and have the weekends to go on adventures like kayaking, music festivals, paragliding, camping, climbing trips, and other new experiences. It has been an eventful year and I’m ready for round two.
… having the opportunity to grow up in America. I can sometimes be cynical and have negative feelings towards the nation that can be ethnocentric and greedy, but I realize that every nation has its faults. I’m lucky to be a native English speaker and have the opportunity to easily travel with a US passport. It’s a dynamic nation unlike any other. Exploring the country for two months via car made me realize the true beauty that America and its people have to offer.
… being surrounded by incredible human beings for every day of my life. My quirky family is supportive and always taught me to aim for my dream and quit worrying what other people think. I am proud to say I have friends dispersed across the Earth that I’ve met through travel, Couch Surfing, and adoptee gatherings. I probably have someone I would feel comfortable visiting in a dozen countries even though we don’t talk every day. My closest friends were made through adventures in college. While I miss them every single day, I know they’re always there for me at any point. The friendships I developed in Korea have also been super positive. It takes a special breed of humans to drop their lives home and live in a foreign country. My friends here are open minded, adventurous, active, and peaceful. We all come from different cultural, educational, and occupational backgrounds yet we all share a common vision of world travel and connection through culture. I’m so lucky to know each and every one of them. It saddens me to think about how we will all be leaving Korea within the next year or two, but I know every individual will go on to do some incredible things to contribute to the goodness of the world. I will do whatever I humanly can to stay connected with some of these people.
…the educational opportunities I had in East Brunswick and University. High school was rather competitive, but it did completely prepared me for college. I’m thankful I had the opportunity to take some unique classes like graphic design, commercial art, sculpture, wood working, survival skills, silk screening, humanities, psychology and film so I can explore various fields before settling on a major in college. Speaking of which, I’m grateful that I chose the small teaching university, UNF, where I worked closely with three professors and had the opportunity to get highly involved on campus through work, volunteering, clubs, a teaching assistantship, and research labs. I like having a name and not being a number at my university.
… being a gymnast. Supposedly, my parents put me in gymnastics because I fell out of my crib and landed on my knees with my hands up in the air as if I stuck it. I’m grateful I was put into this sport because it shaped my flexibility, endurance, strength, and mind. All of these kinesthetic skills facilitate my latest sporting endeavors: taekwondo and rock climbing.
… being adopted. Every adoptee reacts differently to their circumstance, but I realize that I am one lucky soul for having been adopted into a quirky middle class family. I’m lucky to now know my birth family who took me in and love me for the person I became. It has been a challenge on my identity, trying to figure out where I “belong”, but I think I’ve got it figured out. I don’t belong to any one state or nation or group of people. I just belong to this earth and trying to make it just like everyone else.
… all of my biological needs are met. I have enough resources to stay warm in winter and cool in summer. I am never hungry.
… being alive. I’m healthy, I’m breathing, my organs work, and I have all of my limbs.