Grateful things, Happy thoughts

Have you heard the girls working in cosmetic shops, shrieking to whomever passes the great promotions their shops are offering? Since subway stations are now full of these cosmetic shops and I use the subway every time I go out, I get an earful almost everyday. Did you also notice that these girls all have similar voice tones that are very disturbing? I sometimes feel like a banshee would want to take a few lessons from them. Is it a specific requirement for people working in these shops? Because, frankly, I don’t think a normal human being should be talking in such a voice, and I’m pretty sure that if they were to carry on a casual conversation with their friends, they would actually not sound like that at all.

‘Oh, so this is another of your posts in which you complain about people around you. You love hating so much now you have to pick on these poor girls working their asses off for a meager salary…’ … You may think. And yes, you would not be totally wrong. The moment one of them shrieked into my ears about the ‘1+1 hand cream’ their shop was offering, I was tempted, right there, to pull of my phone and tweet something in the lines of ‘Is it a specific requirement for girls working in cosmetic shops to have the most annoying voice ever?’ (Okay, I might have thought of waiting until I get on the bus, what with the freezing cold, my fingers wouldn’t have been able to type all that).

‘People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be’ – Lincoln

But then I stopped and wondered, how come all my tweets, FB status and blog posts are about things and people I find annoying? The more I thought about it, the more it hit me how disturbing this was. Actually, this thought had been lingering in my mind ever since I skimmed through this blog posting I saw per chance one day, about how this girl loved pajama parties. I didn’t get to read it, because I saw ‘pajama parties’ and ‘love’ in the same sentence and thought to myself ‘Ach one of those people who love every little thing in life!’ and moved on. But seriously, I remember ‘back in the days’ how happy and grateful I  used to be too. I really used to be a much happier and more appreciative person. I even wrote a post on another, more private blog, how the flowers smelled nice in the spring and that made me all ‘spring-y’ inside. The point here being, NOT why I would have another ‘private’ blog, besides my WordPress blog, my Facebook and Twitter accounts (just be glad I’m not into Google Plus), but that I too could write about lovely and joyful things in life. And somehow in the space of a year, I lost that ability.

So then and there, I decided I would look for and maybe write, if it’s worth it, at least three things I should be thankful for every…no, not day, week (I may have realized my bitterness, but I didn’t turn delusional). And right when I set up my mind to it and looked around, I found it, right there and then, three little things of the week I was grateful for.

1. Looking around in the bitter winter cold while standing in line to get on the bus going home from Kwanghwamun, I realized how little and insignificant it may seem, yet inspiring it was to see all these people, waiting to go home, stand in a perfect line to get on the bus. I don’t think anybody told them to do so, there’s no sign telling them, ‘Please stand in line’. And it’s not like this is a common thing to all bus stations in Seoul. The main reason I choose to take 15-30 minutes more than my usual route to get to the Kwanghwamun station is exactly because people here stand in line and I can be sure to be sitting all the way to home and sleep comfortably (minus the few, very embarrassing bangs on the bus window when I’m really tired). Sure, there are, from time to time, some old people who will cut in line, mumbling some lame excuse ‘Ooops there’s a line, I didn’t know’ and still get on the bus, as if all the rest of us enjoyed waiting in the cold. But all good things have a few exceptions. So, yes, knowing fully well how Koreans can be rude (‘Sorry’ indeed seems to be the hardest word for Koreans, especially when they knowingly bump into you and push you), I was grateful for this organized waiting.

2. I’ve had a load of translation jobs lately (that is why it took me a few days to complete this posting) and yes, I do not necessarily enjoy translating work, but I’ve decided to give it another perspective. I’ve been doing this ever since I could read and write it seems, and it’s not fun to be sitting in front of your computer all day and translate. It is also true that some of my translation works are less than ethical, I’m ashamed to admit, but since it comes to my survival and livelihood, I’m going to apply the well-known ‘demand and supply’ principle, which seems to apply to any sort of situation anyways. So yes, although it is not my ideal part-time job, how many ‘idea’ part-time jobs are there anyways? At least the ‘demand’ doesn’t stop coming in and it helps me get a fair amount of money to survive on. At least I can control my own hours and stay within the comforts of my room, an office, or anywhere with internet and a lap-top. So yes, thank you, all of you people who need something to be translated.

3. As I was waiting for the bus (yes, all my three thankful things came within the short span of time I was waiting for the bus. When I get my mind to something, there’s no stopping me!), I heard this girl talking on the phone. She was telling her friend that she didn’t really want to go to this gathering because although she was very hungry, she didn’t really want to meet the people who were there and talk to them. It seemed it was some kind of gathering where you basically know everyone who’s present, but whom you’re not necessarily friends with. She was saying what seemed nonsense to me ‘I wanted to go there, but didn’t really want to, you know what I mean?’ (Erm, no…how does that work?) and so on. And I was thankful I didn’t have such gatherings I felt obliged to. Throughout the years I have learned that life is short, the world is big, so you really shouldn’t be wasting your time with people whose company you find it hard to appreciate. I only meet with people I like (yes, they may exhibit some annoying traits from time to time, but well, who doesn’t?) and I don’t waste my time explaining to a friend there was this gathering I wanted to go but didn’t really want to go, not really. I just don’t think about such gatherings. If I get word or an invite on such event, I make up my mind in the split of a minute and then it’s out of my head. So I was thankful I didn’t have to go through this dilemma anymore, which, if you think about it, is really not worth your time thinking about it. You just need a few good friends.

As soon as I was done with my three happy and grateful things of the week, I had this sudden rush of so many things I was actually grateful and happy about, to which I firmly said, ‘Stop invading me, you madness!’. I have to save some for the weeks to come by, don’t I?

Yes I am!

And please don’t mistake me, I do know how to have a good laugh on a daily basis, and I too can smile in the middle of the day, walking by myself alone, just like that, because some crazy or happy or heart-fluttering thought crossed my mind. I just don’t think they’re as much fun to read as my miseries, so I keep those to myself, well, except for that day at Kwanghwamun (which is another thing I’m grateful for, it’s my favorite place in Seoul), there was too much happiness I couldn’t handle it by myself.

And…of course, I’m always thankful and EXCITED about…







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