Zen.

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After feeling slightly, lovingly chastised from my Nana last week as she told me how she checks for my blog every Sunday and I hadn’t posted, I’m back with a post about finding some tai chi or whatever, early on the posting schedule because I gots stuff to do tomorrow!

Myself and Marty, a newer teacher from BC, Canada, and I decided we were going to go and see Thor 2 last night. It would have been the second time for me and the first for him, but hey. Why pass up an opportunity to see Chris Hemsworth’s muscles and Tom Hiddleston’s pained looks?

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So off we went, and met up with Roy-Gene at HomePlus (Korean Walmart) after we discovered that Thor 2 didn’t play until 8:30, was 2 hours long and our shuttle left at 9:40 and neither of us wanted to pay $20 for a cab because we’d miss the shuttle just to see said muscles and faces. So we decided to go shop for irrelevant things (and yes, I can hear some of you saying, “but you’re a person with iThings! Why didn’t you just download an app or consult with the great and powerful Cupertino and know what time the movie played before you got there?! Well, little sassmouths, I tried and the CGV app is all in Hangul [Korean] and there is no option to switch it to English. Also my link with the mothership terminated on my last day. I can no longer predict iPhone releases or what size iPad is the best fit for you either, so there).

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After Marty and I had each bough a frivolous, excellent hat (mine makes me look like Amelia Earhart, I’ll selfie it soon) and rung out, the three of us decided to head back to the Donga/Daiso/Chilgok IC4 “aka our pickup by the shuttle” area. Having an inordinate amount of time and being relatively fit (read: have 2 legs, will walk), we all decided to walk along the river back rather than take a $3, 3 minute cab. You know, I would have been fine with the cab but heck, why not walk.

IMMEDIATELY these two take off at bat-out-of-hell-speed. I had just bought a donut and was totally fine with hanging back and eating it alone slowly, lovingly as the brisk November wind whipped through my greasy hair and the river babbled away on my left and older Koreans walked by me swinging their arms dangerously.

This past 2 weeks we’ve had some staffers from the University of Colorado: Colorado Springs (UCCS is the partner school with Yeungjin College for DGEV) visit, which they usually do about every 5-6 months. This time they brought a therapist, Dr. Field, with them to talk about resiliency in education for students and educators, which was a great topic and opened my eyes more to what motivates students and also how we can not all go crazy being here. I kid, I kid. Kind of.

I put off wanting to talk with her one-on-one for a week and then had a slight panic attack on Tuesday that she was leaving Thursday morning and I wouldn’t get to run my current dilemmas past someone who is a professional and might actually talk me out of my tree (which is a tall, knotty, difficult oak). She graciously agreed to meet with me and hear me out about life.

Guys. Therapy is such a weird word. Such a loaded word. Really all it is is just talking. Talking to someone who can help you untangle the rats nest you’ve made of your thoughts and memories and hopes and dreams and fears. I’ve gone in a couple times to talk with someone in Arkansas and it was truly one of the best decisions of my life. It was put best to me as “if there’s something up with your foot, you would see a doctor. No question, right? So if you’re worried or there’s something you need to talk out why wouldn’t you see a doctor?”

There is something wonderfully, gloriously freeing about telling a stranger who has no reason to root for you, no obligation to be in your corner all your life and having them look in your eyes and say “that’s a lot. You are allowed to feel overwhelmed. Your feelings are valid.” It’s like opening the doors at the end of Legally Blonde and walking into the whiteout.

It doesn’t solve everything (or sometimes anything) other than your own anxiety about being anxious about your feels. I want to just dump all the pieces of my life and push them across the table and then look up, hopefully, and say, “how do I put it together? What should I do?” But a therapist is neither a genie nor a toothless gypsy soothsayer. Unfortunately. That would be kind of awesome. But really, I don’t know how legit advice would be from someone who lives in a lamp or who is lacking in good oral hygiene.

Regardless, it was the 110% right decision. She even said “I think you’ve already decided what you want to do. Trust yourself.” I’m almost 6 months here, guys. 6 months of looking back to missing all of you in Arkansas and Washington and Oklahoma and 6 months of looking forward nervously trying to figure out “what am I gonna do?” And I’ve realized that with so much past and future that I’m missing the present.

Yeah. That was kind of cheesy. You may slap me 1 time the next opportunity you have. 1 freebie. But truly. I’m trying to think of things I’ve done here in 6 months and there’s so much more I wanted do want to do. And now it’s about to get cold as Jötunheimr up in this place and the opportunities for traveling and hiking are getting slimmer.

As I walked behind Roy-Gene and Marty, I realized that I didn’t need to speed up. If they wanted to walk fast, go for it. I’m walking along a river in Korea. IN KOREA. There’s maybe 3 of you reading this blog who will ever be able to do that. And here I am worrying about job opportunities when I get back in June, 6-7 months away. There’s a mammoth, gently-curving monorail being built along the river that makes all of the neon behind it look like the world Blade Runner was supposed to be. My donut was nothing like the Lynden Dutch Bakery nor Shipley’s (long may they prosper), but it was a donut. I’m healthy. I have legs that work. A threadbare NorthFace. Jeans without holes in the thighs (for now). Sturdy fake Converse that carry me. A comfortable bank account where I can buy faux-Amelia Earhart fur hats and peanut M&Ms and a random pomegranate. An iPhone that I can take pictures and capture my sights.

How unbelievably stupid and selfish to not breathe deep the crisp November smells of crackly, decomposing leaves; bow and whisper “anyong hashimnikka” to the Koreans getting their brisk walks on at 8:26pm; and just rest in the moment. This moment. This moment to remember and treasure and just be in. I don’t need to look forward nor back and miss out on being here. Just walk and tear off pieces of donut and breathe and take another step and be in Korea in this time and place and hop on stones across the river and swing my plastic bag and just smile. I’m happy. My heart is pulled in a lot of directions but it’s resting here. And here is blessedly, beautifully happy.

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