Giving Thanks

Hunker down. It could be a long and bumpy ride.

I know I'm about a week late on this whole "Giving Thanks" blog post business, but to be honest, I've been feeling pretty sorry for myself lately and really just wanted to continue the bitching tirade I'd started with Korea about a month ago. But nobody wants to read that.

And to be clear, it IS about Korea. But I'll get to that. For now, I'll count my blessings.

Of course I am thankful for all the usual thangs: my healthy, happy, supportive family who sends me packages full of delicious, fatty American snacks I can never find in Korea and prolly would be better off without. I'm thankful to be gainfully employed (albeit in a foreign country with ridiculous labor laws and zero concept of the 'personal day'). I'm thankful for my health, my sanity, my friends and Skype. God, they should REALLY start paying me.

But I'm also thankful for a whole slew of other thangs that somehow get lost in the hustle and bustle of daily life. Without them, life in Korea might be a little further from Heaven and a little closer to Hell.

I can't believe I'm going to admit this, but I am thankful for my Building Ajumma. She may be pushy and intrusive, but dammit she always does it with a smile. She regularly brings me Asian pears and apples and homemade kimchi (which I promptly toss in the freezer because I can't throw it away -- she separates the damn trash and just my luck she'd totally call me on it.) She checks on me regularly to make sure my heat is working and that my windows are sealed from the bitter Korean cold. She even replaced my shower head after I hurled it at the tile floor in a fit of rage and tears at yet ANOTHER cold shower. She definitely knows the way to this waygook's heart.

I am thankful for Amanda who lets me psychoanalyze her at our weekly Sunday breakfast date. She takes it all in stride and still wants to be my friend. I love her.

I am thankful for Jamie, whose Thanksgiving dinner made me forget I was in Korea. Added bonus? I'm still eating leftovers. Good thang, 'cause my ass is broke like a social worker's with a master's. Come on, China ain't gonna pay for itself.

American Thanksgiving, complete with canned cranberries just like the pilgrims made.

I am also endlessly thankful for my afternoon students. Without them I prolly would have marched my ass into Boss Lady's office yesterday and quit on the spot.

Me: What genre is our story today.

Third Graders: Realistic Fiction.

Me: What does that mean?

TG: It could happen in real life but it is not a real story.

Me: Is Harry Potter realistic fiction?

TG: Yes.

Me: Ummm. What?

TG (in unison): Harry Potter could happen... In the future! (Followed by self-congratulatory high fives.)

This was followed by a lengthy discussion of Hellboy, in which Kevin proclaimed my "Hell Lady" status because, "Teacher, Hellboy is a hero, but he is a boy and you are a girl." They are self-sufficient, cheeky, and reasonably well-behaved. And I never have to ask them to take their hands out of their pants. God, I loathe kindergarten.

I am thankful for this:

I saw this in a Korean department store and about flipped my shit. Aww, home sweet home.

I am thankful that, in Korea, it's perfectly acceptable to stare at anyone doing anything at anytime, which is exactly what I did two Sundays ago when I witnessed a Russian woman cursing and waving her arms frantically at a car cruising up Hooker Hill. But wait, it gets better. Some follicley challenged Korean officers pulled the car over, and before they could bow and murmur their "anyung haseos" three tempestuous ladies of the night hopped out and fled down the street. The Russian woman was left to flail her arms at her husband/pimp/unfortunate john, while the Korean officers stood idly by, prolly hoping none of the hookers recognized them from the night before.

I am thankful for surfthechannel, without which I would never have been able to watch the lamest season of Project Runway. Seriously, could it have been anymore anticlimactic? Also, Dan's threesome with lame-o Vanessa (I hate her!) and Hillary Duff; Courtney Cox's turn as the lovable yet cringe-worthy Jules; and of course my not-so-secret girlie crush, Liz Lemon. Without my sick Internet connection and online TV from shady Chinese websites, I'd prolly be far more productive. *Side note: did you know Internet is a proper noun? I didn't.

I am thankful for the green oven mitt loofahs that buff and polish my skin raw and only cost 1000 won. In Korea, I am VERY smooth.

I am thankful for cheap, efficient transit because we all know I would be hell behind the wheel in Seoul. I can hardly stand to sit in a cab for more than five minutes without passive/aggressively sighing at the cab driver for taking the longest possible route and making me sit unnecessarily in hellish traffic. It takes every ounce of strength I have to keep my middle finger and mouth in check.

Finally, I am thankful that my life is mine. After reading Amanda's post about her students and what sad, arbitrary, soulless lives some of them lead, I realized how lucky I am. I may stumble and fumble and trip and fall through this life (quite literally, sometimes), but it is MY creation.

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