Attitude can change everything. In adversity, it is the hardest thing to retain.
When I first started planning for Korea, all that occupied my mind–besides the epic logistical and bureaucratic hooplah–were positive thoughts about my tentative future. I dreamed of how I would become such an amazing teacher and how all of my well-behaved, angelic students would heed my every word and would nearly effortlessly absorb the English language under my direction. I dreamed of finally mastering the use of chopsticks and how I would become a flawless and skilled transportation wiz, “why, yes, I know exactly which stop I need without ever even glancing at one of those grotesque subway maps! Please, I’m no tourist”! I basically thought I was going to take Asia by storm….
Now, after having lived here for only a month I feel as though I have a set of experiences that seem more like a year’s worth. When I look back at former me–besides obviously taking stock of my own ignorance–I can clearly see the major difference between then and now. No, I did not wake up on my first day of teaching a perfect teacher. No, I am not a chopsticks master yet but I am definitely improving; however, I don’t know that I’ll ever get used to sitting cross-legged on the floor of a restaurant unless I commit the rest of my life to yoga, and that’s a hobby I can neither physically accomplish nor literally afford at the present. And I may never have the subway system memorized, that’s probably an entirely unrealistic goal and is utterly useless knowledge anyway.
The list could go on and on but the truth of it is–I’m here, I chose to be here and I’m here. Yes, my foot is destroyed for the time being and it is quite literally making every single part of every day a struggle fest. But, the only real difference between then and now –besides my physical location and ability to fully use all of my extremities–is my attitude.
I can’t be honest enough about how hard things truly are for me right now and I don’t mean to erase that all away with a few comical interjections to lighten the mood; this is not an easy path. But, when I look at my life, I know that I have purpose in being where I am and I know that I am not alone in that purpose. If I am here for nothing other than to change my stubborn heart, then so be it. I don’t know what’s all in store; I’ve never really been all that good at planning for very far into the future. Clearly things have already come along that I was unprepared to deal with, but above all there is always, always, always something to be thankful for.