From Korea with Love

"I carry your heart with me… always."


How Has Your Day Been, My Friend?

I was expecting to have a TERRIBLE day because of a few TERRIBLE students in some of my Tuesday classes. I’ve just had a TERRIBLE week of being sick, being told by my doctor a not-so-good news and not being able to go to work for four days… but tonight, when my middle school students came to the classroom, they all got excited and said that they missed me; some even offered me a hug. A boy who used to make trouble in class told me before he left the classroom: “Teacher, don’t get sick again.”

On my way home, I had to stand on the bus for 30 minutes because all seats were taken. (Most Koreans don’t mind standing on the bus. Everyone just wants to be home as soon as possible, so even when the bus is crowded, the driver keeps accepting passengers.) I was exhausted and dizzy. How TERRIBLE it is to travel an hour and a half from work to home, especially when you’re hungry. It had just rained and snowed; I don’t like rainy and snowy days.

When I came home, my husband met me by the door, took my bag and carried it to the bedroom. We had an ordinary dinner together, but he liked what I cooked and said thank you for the meal.

I had tons of dishes to wash. There was laundry waiting to be done and clothes that needed to be folded and kept in the closet. The bedroom had to be tidied up, too. It seems as if the chores are endless every time I come home from work…  (the typical life of a housewife in Korea) but somehow I’m glad I can accomplish many things… and I have a husband who helps me finish all the housework when I can’t do everything by myself.

Sometimes, just when things don’t go your way and you feel like your day or week can’t get any worse, think of the “other things” that can make you smile, and remember the people who care about you and whom you care about, too, who can help you “lighten up” your load.

Life is not a piece of paradise. There will always be terrible days, terrible people, terrible encounters… (especially when you live in a foreign land) but if we focus our attention on these terrible things alone, we will gain nothing but a migraine, additional wrinkles and perhaps a nervous breakdown.

Remember the myth Pandora’s Box?

One of the daughters of Zeus, a beautiful woman named Pandora, was given a small box with a big heavy lock on it. She was told never to open the box, but Pandora got very curious. One day, when her husband, Epimetheus, the keeper of the lock, was sleeping, she stole the lock from him and opened the box.  All the bad things in this world flew out of the box: sickness, misery, envy, hate, cruelty.

Pandora immediately slammed the box shut, but all of the negative things that people could ever experience in life had already gotten out, except for one thing… HOPE.

Today, I have found hope in my students and in my loving husband… and I’m pretty sure I’m going to be all right. ^^

How has your day been, my friend? Have you had another hectic day at work? Have you argued with anybody today? Do the bills trouble you? Do you feel alone, empty, tired? Are you angry, hurt or frustrated?

Open your life’s little box. There must be something there that can make you feel better. Is it a light-hearted conversation with a colleague over coffee break? Your children’s laughter, those tiny hands that touch your face? Your husband’s smile, his words of encouragement? It could be your favorite cake or ice cream, too. A sigh, a whisper, a prayer. Go on, keep searching… hope must be there… somewhere. =)

"The Praying Hands" (work of the German artist Albrecht Dürer)

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