Sometimes there are days when the rain should fall; days when I love the sound of its dripping outside my open window; days when it is the perfect soundtrack to my existence. Sometimes there are days when you watch one movie after another and don’t even feel guilty about it; days when the dishes that haphazardly fill the sink, the clothing thrown over the backs of chairs, and the kleenexes that litter the floor are an apt environment for the day’s activities or lack thereof. Sometimes it’s okay to spend thirty-six hours in a pair of oversized shorts and a baggy T-shirt, to ignore the “to do” lists and piles of laundry, to keep the door shut and pretend that the world has ceased to rotate on its axes while it waits for you to be ready to join it again. I didn’t have to work today, and I spent it alone in my one-room apartment, surrounded by remnants of the dysfunction and difficulties of the past week: an unmade bed, empty glasses and bottles of water and orange juice, a garbage can overflowing with tissues, and my nineteen pills a day. A single light bulb lit the doorway and low strains of mellow country ballads wafted out of my speakers. Mystery Korean illness number two has sapped mass amounts of my energy over the past week or so and has resulted in the incoherent state of my apartment, eaten my appetite, and left me struggling to keep up with life. It has taken all of my energy to meet the basic expectations that my job and life demand of me. It’s a really good thing that we’ve had a couple of days off of work in last week because I needed those days of raindrops and movies and zoning in and out of consciousness, of ignoring the secondhand as it ticked through the minutes and the hours and the obligations. I needed to spend entire days wrapped up in my duvet and letting my pillows surround me. I am feeling a lot better, and hopefully work won’t feel like an insurmountable challenge tomorrow, and hopefully by the weekend I will be able to enjoy the remnants of spring the way they should be enjoyed before humidity completely envelops this Asian nation.
Sometimes random moments make the best memories. Saturday I got a replacement fridge because my old one decided that it had finished keeping things cold. My friend Melody came over to help me clean my new second-hand one before I put my food into it. We were both pretty sick and constantly coughing. After tackling the freezer we stumbled to Pizza School for a quick, easy, and cheap dinner that didn’t require my cleaning pots or pans or sifting through room-temperature food to decipher if there was any combination of things that could possibly come together to resemble a meal. Sporting my favourite sweat pants and a T-shirt that doubled as a pajama shirt, I braved the big world outside, and every block or so we’d stop to have a coughing fit. Misery loves company, or so they say. Getting back to my apartment with a little more energy than I had when we left, we began on the thorough cleaning of my fridge, a job which took a few hours and took every ounce of strength that I possessed. I was constantly amused by the absurdity of it all; the two of us suffering from the Cheongju plague and cleaning plastic shelves in my shower at 11:30 on a Saturday night. But the promise of cold food was worth working for. Sometimes laborious moments let us bond, and I’m sure Melody and I will have a good laugh about that evening sometime in the future.
Sometimes you look in the mirror and see yourself as though you are a separate entity; as though you are disconnected from the person staring back at you. At least, sometimes I do. Sometimes I look at the girl gazing at me from the glass and I think about how she got to be that way, got to be the person that she is today. Sometimes I wonder what I would think of her if I wasn’t the one living inside of her brain. Sometimes I think about how I expected life to turn out, and about how life has turned out, about how life is turning out, about how I still expect life to turn out, and about how life actually will turn out. Sometimes I look around and wonder how I got to be where I am. Years ago I would have told you that I expected to be married with a kid by the age of twenty-six, but here I am living alone in South Korea teaching English to children. Years ago I thought that at some point I would know exactly what I wanted to do with my life, that there would be some sort of certainty regarding a job or a career. Years ago I thought that there was one right answer, one specific goal to be accomplished with my life. But life isn’t like that. Life is intricate and inconsistent. Life is surprising and subtle. Life is unexpected and unknown. Life hasn’t brought me a husband or a career. But I wouldn’t trade it. I wouldn’t trade it for the visions that I used to have, for the way that I expected things to go. I love my life. I love where I’ve been and where I am. I hope that one day I get the chance to get married, to have kids, to settle down, but I don’t regret that it hasn’t happened yet, and to be honest, I don’t care if I ever have a specific career. Today I am happy to let the rain fall, to let the music play, to let reality exist. Today I am happy to look at the girl in the mirror and be thankful for the life that I have been blessed to lead. Today I am thankful that I have a future, and that I have a reason to hope for the future.
You never plan for things to go differently than you expect, but sometimes they do, and sometimes it’s better. You never plan to get sick. You never plan for things to be uncomfortable or difficult. You never plan for life to demand days like today, but sometimes it does, and sometimes that’s okay. C’est la vie.