I know, I know, you were expecting another post on the Philippines. Don’t worry, that’s in the works. I just felt compelled to share a little of my afternoon with you today.
The weather is beautiful this time of year, and even though today it’s a little overcast, I just enjoyed a little trek down to the supermarket/department store. Walking back, I had one of those moments where I felt I was watching myself from afar, taking in the small accomplishments and blessings of my day. Very namaste, if you will (although technically I was alone).
My first thought was laughing at myself that I actually got a “granny cart”, though it was free service (pronounced ser-beese by Koreans) for one of my purchases at E-Mart a few weeks ago. So I guess I was really laughing that I am actually using it, considering it’s hot pink with the Downy logo all over it. When we first arrived, I noticed a lot of older Korean women toting around these miniature dollies; you know, those two-wheeled hauling devices that come with your U-Haul rental. The dollies are all equipped with some type of bag and come in all sorts of colors and quality. You can buy one for as little as $5 USD.
Minnie asking where her goodies are.
I thought they were really silly at first, because I just couldn’t imagine the types of looks I’d get walking around a grocery store back home with one. However, I began to notice all of the things that make these little guys so useful. Koreans walk (a LOT), and many of them make frequent trips to the grocery store for small loads of items, instead of packing carts full like some Westerners do – hello Costco! And really, there are endless activities you could use it for. Take it to the beach, on a picnic, hauling your dinner contributions (read: wine) across the compound to a friend’s place, the list goes on! Let’s just say I don’t even care how silly (or old) I look anymore.
When I arrived at the store, the first thing I saw was RASPBERRIES. RASPBERRIES in all capital letters because they are my absolute favorite fruit and I haven’t seen a single RASPBERRY since we got here! Ignore the fact that these cost $7.50 USD and don’t look quite as delicious as my summer fruits at home. You can bet I’m having something with RASPBERRIES in it for dessert tonight. Out-of-body self was really appreciating that find. (Maybe not so much after I eat one).
I purchased a whole chicken at the supermarket and I’m going to take a stab at roasting it this week. I’ve never tried it before, but I’m sure Pinterest will come to the rescue. The reason I was feeling grateful for this was that this week I found a Crock Pot at Costco for $30 USD! Score! For me, a Crock Pot was one of those “you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone” things. I really didn’t realize how much I used mine at home, and I really didn’t think 2 years without one would be bad. Luckily I found this guy for cheap and can do infinitely many more searches on Pinterest now!
Thanks to some friends at the compound, I found my bread guy, which out-of-body self was thankful for too. I call him mine even though he’s hardly a hidden gem or well-kept secret. Just a local guy with a small bread shop who really knows his stuff. I have converted to only buying bread from him because he makes an amazingly scrumptious whole grain loaf for sandwiches. Plus a bunch of other stuff but I would go there just for this bread. Today I felt particularly excited/grateful/happy to find out that he makes said bread without sugar. This is because I’m currently making a big personal effort to understand the permeation of sugar in modern foods, recognize my over-consumption and do something about it. As I stare at my Starbucks latte. Sigh.
A life abroad offers boundless opportunities for personal growth and learning – about yourself, about the world and in this case another language. Today was a bold day as I tried speaking some Korean to the bread guy even though I wasn’t entirely sure if I was saying “have a nice weekend” the correct way. I actually took a moment while he was ringing me up to try to remember exactly what to say. Next, there was a moment of hesitation and anticipation of potential embarrassment before I decided I will never get better unless I try and fail. Fail I did, but I was 90% correct, he understood what I said and he even smiled! How awesome is it that we get a Korean tutor to come to our home and help us learn more than “hello” and “thank you”, to help make our lives easier and more interesting? Last night we were learning the Korean names for various cuts of pork, complete with a diagram of a pig and arrows pointing to where a particular cut of meat comes from on a pig. I doubt most Westerners know enough about the food system and butchering to understand what they are eating, but now at least we know what Koreans like to eat!
Today’s revelations were not necessarily about recognizing the divine presence in anyone else, but in the world around me, and even within myself. It was a strangely deep yogi moment for me, and even as I write this I am realizing I should also be particularly thankful that people care enough about us to follow our journey here. For that, my friends, namaste.