(Be sure to read this post on its own page. As this is already very long, it appears too crowded on some browsers.)
How quickly time flies… It’s already the first of December 2011. What? In about a month we’ll welcome another year? But before thinking about the New Year, I would like to savor this last month of 2011. After all, December is probably the most festive month – at least for believers of Christmas.
I will not go the way someone who looks forward to the holidays go. No, I won’t think of Christmas shopping (I won’t spend Christmas in the Philippines where most of my loved ones are anyway). I will not plan Christmas parties that much. What I want to do is to count my blessings. Each day, however it goes, good, bad, ordinary or amazing, I will mention the positive things that happened or positive lessons and realizations I can draw from it.
As such, this blog post will be updated daily until the 31st of December 2011. Who’s with me? Join me in counting blessings and spreading positive vibes! Comment below! (You are welcome to comment on a daily basis too!)
December 1, 2011: This is an ordinary day with most of my time awake allotted for work. I worked an extra 2 hours so that really left little time for me to do other things. But this post, an idea that popped up after seeing the date today, is one thing I am thankful for. It just gave me something new to look forward to. And for boring news, one thing that went well today is my work! I was efficient… I think. 😛
December 2, 2011: It’s Friday! Another weekend is coming! I have to say my friends’ responses about this idea of counting blessings made me happy. So that is one very good thing already. Next, by lunch time I bought a T-shirt in a tourist spot conveniently located near the office, for a friend of mine who particularly needed it for pasalubong – that’s helping in a small way :). And this is one very good thing for today: my dinner! “Thank you Lord for the blessings!” I thought – drooling.
December 3, 2011: This turned out to be one of those Saturdays when I just stayed inside the apartment, like I’m hiding out from someone or just scared to get the sun’s rays on me. I am glad that I made up for lost sleep though. And I am not sure if I’m having a mild case of cold or just starting to get allergic rhinitis again due to the cold weather. So having this day to recharge is a blessing. Also, I exercised (like this but not as sick as the instructor) after 3 weeks! You know, exercise makes you feel good. 🙂
I procrastinated a lot today actually. My initial intention is to work on the video that I was having a hard time conceptualizing – for the whole day. But I fell to the internet trap once again. And you know how it is with surfing the web. You can easily lose track of time (even though the computer clock is just in front of you, ironically). But I thank whoever it is who invented the internet (it’s a blessing!). I just need to restrain myself from using it too often.
December 4, 2011: Sunday, I was very, very late to mass – again! That started my day with a little frustration. (I know, it should not be difficult to be on time). Well that mood was easily erased, thanks to my hurried walk towards the church from the train station. (I almost stumbled at one point.)
Like the usual, I ate breakfast and wandered around Myeongdong with my friends after the mass. We also ate lunch on the same area before parting ways. This particular meeting with them involved long conversations about different things; with a nice mixture of fun and serious (the type that will rejuvenate your spirit, if you know what I mean). I may not be a very sociable person, but I do have a handful of friends. And I would like to believe all of them are real. And having at least a few of them around the vicinity is a big blessing indeed. The last time I checked, I’m still sane.
Do you know instagram? I’ll assume you do :). So I follow this really good nature photographer, @menzenbe. Most of his photographs are from Alaska – a dream travel destination of mine. (I just melt every time I see beautiful pictures of that place.) Just after arriving at the apartment, I was surprised to see notifications on my phone, telling that he liked 4 of my photos in IG! OMG! Fantastic! 😀
Oh and one more thing, I’ve finally began working on my next travel video. I mean really begin – the type when one’s momentum will carry on even after sleeping.
This was overall, a good day.
Faring well in a difficult Sun-to-Mon transition, reuniting with tonkotsu ramen, new favorite movie and more… counting blessings for the week that was Dec 5 -11, 2011
December 5, 2011: I am really sleepy now. My head is aching a little due to lack of sleep. My eyes are feeling stressed – they need more time under cover. But you know what happened good today? Even though it is another difficult Sunday-to-Monday transition, I was able to finish a personal target set before commencing work. I didn’t even sought the help of coffee! I don’t usually do that on a Sleepy Monday to be honest. Somehow there is motivation. I even woke up earlier than usual today (snoozed the alarm thrice instead of five times, haha).
December 6, 2011: I yearn to have a taste of tonkotsu ramen (pork bone noodle soup) of Japan every now and then. It is just unforgettable. I learned from a Korean colleague that there is one Japanese restaurant just near our office that serves one. I went there tonight to have my dinner – ordered the ramen of course. In fairness, it’s the closest thing to the real deal that I have tasted. After all, it’s the first tonkotsu ramen I found outside Japan.
December 7, 2011: Tonight I saw three homeless people in the subway station. Homeless on a winter – what a struggle that must be! A lot of times when I see homeless people, I wonder, whatever happened to them? What circumstances lead to their state? (Sigh) I feel lucky to be getting a grip on life rather than succumbing to its challenges.
On a lighter mood: I had my hair cut today. I pointed a preferred style in the salon’s photo catalogue: familiar and easy to style with wax, and short enough for me to not need another haircut in 2 months. The hairstylist didn’t follow my request, it’s a little bit longer than what I hoped for and it wasn’t my style. But I didn’t assert my choice, as I was struck with curiosity as to how it will turn out. It’s not wildly Korean, but, it does have that K-pop factor. It doesn’t look complicated, but the hairstylist arranged my hair in a way I’m not familiar with. It looks good, I think. But I hope I can replicate it tomorrow. At least it’s new 🙂
By the way, I realized that today is “good food Wednesday” – I’m thankful.
December 8, 2011: I knew it! I couldn’t replicate what the stylist did to my hair. And worse, I had no time to get it this morning as I was running late for work. Oh well, there’s tomorrow and the day after to try again. I need to get it soon before my hair grows longer!
Now on to the good thing that happened today: It’s difficult to think of something by the time I started writing this update. Nothing easily popped up. But good thing a very good friend of mine from Singapore, who just got her new i-phone 4S (naks!), video-called me using the Tango app. So that ends this day on a happy tune. I’m thankful once again, for friends!
December 9, 2011: It snowed in Seoul for the first time this winter! I wasn’t really that excited because it’s not my first time to see snow. (Perhaps anyone from the tropics gets excited upon seeing snow for the first time – I did.) But it made me smile early on this day. This is a simple reminder of how amazing our planet is. Burrr!
After office, I went shopping for winter clothes. It’s planned, not really out of impulse. I don’t shop often – only when needed. But I usually end up spending a lot once I do. I don’t know, more often than not, quality really comes at a price. Would you agree? I’m thankful for having the capacity to spend as much as I did – not that I spent too much. But by Philippine standard, it may be quite expensive. The important thing is, I’m geared for winter… Well almost. 😛 (Okay, I may just gave you the impression that I’m materialistic. Trust me, I’m not luxurious. Defensive, much?)
December 10, 2011: On this day, I have one goal: finish the travel video I’m having a difficulty with. And I did! Satisfied. 🙂
December 11, 2011: I stayed up late until 3:30 am of this day. Reason: I watched “The Shawshank Redemption” for the first time. It just became one of my favorite movies ever! That’s one very early plus for this day. The messages I draw from the movie are just timely. I’m in no way in a desperate situation. But there are situations in the movie that I can consider a metaphor of some of the things I am going through. I won’t really dwell into that. Not just because they are things I’d rather keep private, but also because I can’t really specify them myself. “Get busy living or get busy dying” I heard or saw that quote before, and it totally made sense in this film. I am thankful to have watched this film and end up feeling inspired.
Another good thing that happened is an arrival of a friend of mine from a previous company. He is officially an OFW, welcome bro! Ha ha! That’s one additional friend in the office.
From my job to Steve Jobs, toast master to coffee lover, talent, food, my father – count my blessings for the week that was December 12 – 18 below!
December 12, 2011: In a day that’s ordinary, this post becomes challenging. But that’s the essence of this ‘project’ – reflecting on the good no matter how the day goes. As this day is spent mostly in the office, I think it’s just appropriate to reflect on my job itself.
I am thankful to be a process engineer. I am thankful to the circumstances that lead me to have this profession. It justified my 5-year undergraduate study, I met new friends (real ones), it allowed me to travel abroad (something I really love as a bonus) and more (it is a source of living after all). Wherever my life leads, even if I get out of this profession, I will always be thankful to have it as a tool in achieving my dreams (yup, I’m claiming future successes :P).
Yes, I thought of something for today! Ha ha! But blessings are too many. I should not run out of anything to share, right?
December 13, 2011: We had lunch with our new team manager in an Italian restaurant – Il Mare. I realized it’s the first time I dined in an Italian restaurant in Seoul. So what Jerico? Well, I love Italian food. And I’m almost 5 months in here already. I don’t remember having that long a hiatus for Italian dining. However, I eat pasta almost every week at the apartment. Sauces available in the supermarket are pretty good actually. That may be the reason why I don’t crave much. Oh wait, I just remembered I dined in an Italian restaurant in Nami Island. Well that’s outside Seoul, so my second sentence is accurate at least. Anyway, I’m excited to learn about this restaurant. I’ll go back for a ‘thorough’ experience next time. Have you noticed how good food makes me happy? This is the 4th time I counted it as a blessing. 🙂
December 14, 2011: On November 6, 2011 – a Sunday, I had a simple dilemma: Be inspired with Steve Jobs’ life, or continue the killer of a thriller with Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Supremacy (I just finished reading The Bourne Identity the day before). I chose to be inspired. And just tonight, on my way from work, I did finish reading the biography. Before you make the presumption that I’m an awfully slow reader (or you thought of that 2 seconds ago already?), let me explain. I only read books (for leisure) while riding the train. That means about 40 minutes on my way to office and 40 minutes on my way home (or occasionally on a long travel somewhere else). And when I’m sleepy, or with someone to talk to in the train, I miss reading or just read for half the time. I will tell more about my current affair with pocket (and not-so-pocket) books in a different post. What I really want to point out of course are the blessings relevant today.
I was inspired with Steve Jobs’ life. His character is not something I will fully emulate. If you read the book, you will know what I mean. What I would like to take away from it is his passion, philosophy (partly) and vision. Oh my goodness, Walter Isaacson (the author) was able to make the reader feel the subject’s intensity and in turn gave me goosebumps from time to time while reading the book. As I read the last sentence of the biography I had just that – goosebumps. I am thankful to the Monday-to-Friday inspiration this book has given. And having people like Steve Jobs who have the capacity to shape our specie’s future is something I am thankful for. I wonder if I’m capable of greatness? Or, how great (or merely good) my full potential is? 🙂
December 15, 2011: Toast master – have you heard of this before? To those who do not know, it is a group that enhances members’ command of the English language through public speaking. It operates in a friendly and no-pressure environment, which gives it appeal to the faint of heart. It also enables members to practice cooperation and develop leadership skills.
Why am I suddenly talking about Toast Master? This evening after office, I went to a local chapter’s gathering for the first time. Larry, a new friend I met here in Seoul, invited me last week to try it out (he’s an active member in one of the chapters in the Philippines), so I did. It’s a good opportunity to meet new people and perhaps gain new friends. Although the gathering this evening seemed a little awkward, it’s interesting enough for me to attend another session. Thanks for the invite Larry!
December 16, 2011: Coffee is great. I don’t have to explain why. But it wasn’t until this year when I started drinking coffee.
I avoided coffee early on. As a typical kid with a sweet tooth, I didn’t like its bitter taste. Then there was this bad rep of caffeine circulating during that time (it still is bad in large amounts). My elders also warned about coffee as a drink not advisable for kids – for some reason. As it turns out, coffee is good for you. A lot of components of coffee are beneficial to one’s health. Upon realizing this, I opened my mind and started trying coffee.
When I transferred to a different company last year, I started having less sleep everyday. It wasn’t because I was busier. It’s just that I travel to and from the office longer. Many times I was really in need of a stimulant. Later on, I gave in to the idea of drinking coffee to stay awake – particularly when I’m busy. Although I still moderate my consumption of coffee, I can say that I like it already. And I do appreciate its effect when needed.
I needed that caffeine effect today. So I jumpstarted the day with a Cafe Americano from McDonald’s – no sugar and creamer added (I even prefer bitter coffee now). And I got the desired effect: alert and efficient at work ;). I am thankful coffee exists.
Since I talked about coffee, here’s an interesting cafe in Seoul that I tried with my friends after office: Cat Cafe. Yes, there are cats in the coffee shop. Felinophile? Hang out here.
December 17, 2011: I can dance. I’m not a great dancer – just someone who can. Being picked out to perform in programs when I was in school is a testament to that talent, right? 🙂
It has practical uses. I rarely go to clubs – haven’t been in one for a long time. But in those few times I did, I know I didn’t look stupid dancing. Whenever I feel the urge to exercise, but still lazy to exert too much effort, I opt to dance. When I feel like burning more calories after eating too much (just like today), I dance.
I may not showcase it often (I do it mostly alone in my room/apartment and it’s not my career after all), but it’s a talent I am thankful for.
December 18, 2011: Are you a father? How much allowance do you give to your kids? How much do you spend for their stuff? For this whole week, I ‘financed’ my friend’s (the one I mentioned in December 11 update) needs. His relocation allowance isn’t given yet, so I mostly paid for his expenses. Yesterday and earlier today, I accompanied him in shopping for stuff. Like a father accompanying his teenage kid, he picked what he wanted and I paid at the cashier. Of course he’ll pay me back soon. But this experience all the more proved to me that providing for a family is definitely not an easy task. I thank my father for giving my brothers and I the chance to live a decent life. God, bless my parents more!
As I type this, I feel full – again! I ate a lot of meat… again (see picture in December 2). And the great thing about my heavy, meat-filled meal is, it’s reimbursable to my friend. Ha ha! I appreciate your gratitude man!
Approved vacation for next year resulted in anticipation; but before that happens I counted blessings for the week that culminated on Christmas Day! Here’s December 19 – 25 update:
December 19, 2011: I suddenly got excited to return to the Philippines for vacation. My superiors just approved my home leave. So I was able to make a flight reservation already. Philippines, I will see you in a month!
Speaking of my country, I feel really blessed to be born there. I know, it is not a ‘developed country’ by definition. It doesn’t have that good a reputation to many foreigners. I’m not even sure what the future holds for my country in terms of solving its problems. But, I am proud to say it is beautiful. Seriously, the natural wonders in the Philippines are just amazing. That’s what I miss most aside from my family.
Obviously, I love discovering places in the Philippines. Hopefully my planned trip on January will push through. It’s been a while since I made a travel video about my country.
Another good thing today: I called my mom. That was good; I love her.
December 20, 2011: I attended the year-end party of our department this evening. Great food, so that’s a plus for today. However, I ended up being bothered by the awkward group I was assigned to join in the dinner table. I don’t know, it’s just weird not having conversations at a ‘party.’ I felt a forcefield between us members. But thinking about it, it might have turned out better if I took the initiative to break the ice. I am now realizing that maybe it just so happened that most of them are really the quiet type. Good thing I was with one friend also assigned in the awkwardness, ha ha! Oh well, lesson learned, break the ice. If I’m confident enough to speak in front of an audience, then I should be confident enough to strike a conversation.
About public speaking, I talked in front of everyone for a few minutes about my impression in Korea and the company I joined. It was planned; I was requested to do that several weeks before the party. I prepared for it 2-3 days before. But my delivery was not perfect, at least in the way I wanted it to be. At the end of the program, with the awkward table experience already bothering me, I approached my colleague – the one who requested for me to take part in the program – and asked her what she thought. Her response was a relief. At least I left with a slightly better mood.
And one last thing, I received a gift as gratitude for speaking in the program. Yey! Receiving free items of use are always welcome! 🙂
December 21, 2011: Wow, four days left and it’s Christmas already! I don’t feel it much really – nothing beats anticipation of Christmas in the Philippines. But earlier today, we received gift cheques as ‘Christmas’ present in the office. Great, it can be used at the bakeshop I frequently go to. Thank you my Korean employer!
After office, I went to a simple celebration of a friend’s birthday. She just made the great cross-over: from being 20 something to 30! 😛 She treated us to dinner – so hurray for free food!
Okay, I have to sleep now. I’ve been sleeping late again for consecutive days. Good thing I’m not getting sick. I better prevent it; now off to bed!
December 22, 2011: It’s Thursday and I anticipated the weekend already by having a drink. It wasn’t a drunk-fest.
I attended a Toast Masters meeting for the second time. This instance, I joined the after-session. Instead of going for coffee (like they usually do) we went to have a few drinks. Chicken and beer – that’s the combination. I had the chance to talk to new people on a more personal level. I like how they are readily open to foreigners. It’s an English language club after all, so that’s probably why. I think I’ll attend another session. They are the most welcoming Koreans I’ve met so far, which is nice.
December 23, 2011: As I type this, it is snowing. Looks like we’re going to celebrate a White Christmas in Seoul. But before that, here’s a good thing that happened today: good food on Friday! (And it’s FREE ha ha).
My friends and I plan to eat at a similar restaurant tomorrow – Christmas Eve. No worries, I welcome an indulgence on American food every once in a while.
Going back, this Friday is unusual in that I went home early. So here I am, still awake, but at least half-resting already. Thank goodness I have a shelter, and the means to stay healthy to avoid illness. (Sigh) I just remembered the homeless people again. Although it’s still cold inside my room. The heating system’s inefficient. I reported this problem already; here’s hoping it will get fixed tomorrow.
December 24, 2011: Christmas Eve. I just woke up briefly to accommodate the inspector of my apartment’s heater and to have breakfast. I slept again afterwards – I lacked sleep from Monday to Friday. This is one of those days I didn’t feel guilty of not doing much. I needed a recharge.
Came night time, I went out with my friends here in Seoul. There were a LOT of people at our destination: Myeongdong. A positive atmosphere can be felt in the area though. I’m not sure if it was a planned event, but there were many people, mostly teenagers, offering free hugs. It was a simple but great idea that raised good vibes in the area. 🙂
We originally planned on eating at TGI Friday’s, but the 2-hour estimated waiting time wasn’t something we’d accept. So we looked elsewhere. We ended up eating at California Pizza Kitchen. We were fortunate because we only waited for 10 minutes. A lot of people were also waiting, but somehow the crew found it easier to get our group a table – great! And of course, I am once again thankful to have the capacity to indulge every once in a while. Burp!
Afterwards, we went to Starbucks to extend the chit chat. Some of us started calling our families when we were there. Then, to cap the day, we missed the last trip in the subway. Bam! We waited for a bus, however, we seemed to miss the last trip as well. So we rode on a taxi instead. Anyway, this evening was good, so no complaints.
I am thankful to have friends to celebrate Christmas with. It would be depressing otherwise!
December 25, 2011: Christmas Day. I fought sleepiness in order to attend Mass at Myeongdong Cathedral. It’s Christmas! After all the good things that happened to me this year, it’s time to thank the reason for this festive season and honor His Father – Our Father.
Speaking of father, I called my dad today. Being able to greet him and have a talk on Christmas day completes it for me. So I’m happy.
Latest Update: Counting the last 6 days of 2011!
December 26, 2011: I slept early yesterday which made me catch up sleep for today. Thus, I started this Monday more energized than usual. And I was able to wake up earlier despite the COLD weather. (In case you’re wondering, our heating system is not malfunctioning, it’s just inefficient! Thus, it’s cold inside my room.)
In the office, I did not have anything to do. So I read an industry standard to kill time – something technical, to describe it simply. I just do not want my brain to rust while I’m still staying in this career, if you know what I mean.
Although I am not socially awkward, I consider myself a nerd. Early on I was branded as a Math and Science kid. I love those subjects. These days however, I no longer have the same affection for them – especially in Math. I chose to be more practical, so I didn’t pursue higher learning. I’m not a Math professor, so there really is no reason for me to keep on studying the subject. As for Science, I still enjoy reading about it; but with my profession, I don’t have to be too engrossed with theories.
What would I like to point out here? I am thankful that I was that kid. I didn’t have difficulty the way an average student does when dealing with those subjects (excuse me for the statement, I am not being haughty or whatever). It made school life easier for me.
I didn’t know where I got it, my parents were not Math and Science geeks as far as I know, so I’ll take it as a gift from above. My affinity for those subjects is the reason why I have this profession. And as I said before, I am thankful to have it.
*I had to look back in the past. There wasn’t something new to share from how this day went (read: ordinary day). 🙂
December 27, 2011: I still feel groggy by the time I’m writing this. Our project team just had a milestone party. That’s the good thing that happened today. We had good food (sangyeopsal and pork kalbi), drinks and fun conversations. This time, it wasn’t awkward, thank goodness! It was really enjoyable. Enjoyable in that I may have drunk a little too much!
By the way, have you tried black beer? It’s my first time to try one. This beer is more bitter than usual, I thought there’s coffee mixed in it!
When I arrived home, I saw a package sent by a friend and fellow WordPress blogger: Marjorie! Thank you so much for the gift my friend! I really appreciate it!
December 28, 2011: This is our last working day for the year. Thus, it is filled with anticipation for the coming 4 days off! (Aside from New Year’s Eve, I do not have any plans actually – so I welcome rest and/or time for creativity.)
Just to share with you, part of the year-end habit here is for the top managers to greet everyone in the office. They go from floor to floor, department to department and greet each and everyone of the employees. Also, members of project teams gather around and share food before they conclude the year’s last working day. So most of us went out of the office early – love it!
So what did I do with my friends afterwards? We already booked seats for the movie Mission Impossible 4. So we went out of the office by 4:30 PM and spent 4 hours walking, talking and eating at a very relaxed pace prior to our movie schedule. On to the movie: I love it! It’s just full of action – like there were no rests in-between stunts (just exaggerating).
I’m glad of how this day went, despite the challenge of staying up after last night’s drinking and late sleep. Speaking of sleep, I really need it now.
December 29, 2011: By around 1 am today, (yep before I slept so it’s ‘last night’ but technically very early today :P), I called my favorite travel companions. They have gotten together in the Philippines. It was great to hear from them.
Our travel group, composed of five, has an ‘official’ (as we say so) name: Itchy Feet Wanderings. For most of my travels in the Philippines, I was with them. For me, they are the best travel mates.
These days however, we are on a hiatus. We are busy with our lives, mostly careers, and three of us are currently working overseas. As you know, I am in Korea, two are working in Singapore and two are left in the Philippines. But since the two working in Singapore went home for this holiday, the four of them got a chance to see each other. Ahhh, I’m so missing these guys!
I just would like to say that I am very thankful that our paths crossed. (Okay, I just decided to talk about our group more on a separate blog post.) I’ll see you soon my friends!
What’s more to tell about today? Nothing really, I am just thankful for this extra day off as I was able to sleeeeeeep! Yep, I relish the chance to sleep well these days.
December 30, 2011: I did not go out again. There are a couple of reasons: (1) I still want to rest; (2) I want to save money, so I purposely did not plan on anything. I’ll take the latter as a good thing. I spent a lot gearing for the cold season already. 🙂 Plus I was able to exercise with this extra time inside the apartment.
So what did this bear do in his cave this time? Well, I thought a lot (As if I do not do that often!). In my first post, I have mentioned that I have diaries (digital, by the way). And I focused on one of them today. Doing so all the more confirmed that this year turned out to be good – one of my better years actually. But it also reminded me that there are a lot more things to work on. I will keep most of them to myself, so sorry readers. In a nutshell, I have this life project that is about achieving success – the way I define it. It is driven by love and pride, ha ha! 😀
December 31, 2011: So here it is, the last day of 2011! Again, it’s good that I have friends to spend the New Year’s Eve with. It’s nothing fancy; we ate lots of meat at Choice 21 (yep, that restaurant pictured in December 2 update again), then we went to Caffe Bene, located just across the street. That’s what we were doing at the last minute of 2011 – hanging out at a coffee shop. It’s actually the thing that this particular circle enjoy most, conversations over coffee. 🙂
Earlier this day, I woke up with a light feeling – no anxiety about the fact that the year will end in a matter of hours. That is to say, 2011 has been a good year for me. It proved to be a make-or-break year; and I believe it falls on the ‘make’ side. Many realizations unfolded, and sparkles of hope emerged. And just like this display at the coffee shop, I will move forward, glittering with hope that 2012 will be bigger. Cheers to the year that was, and cheers to the New Year!
– Jerico, The Journeying Engineer