Tuesday, 3 September 2013

It's time to play the "Glad game"

A few months ago a friend challenged me to keep a gratitude journal. I took her up on her challenge but after two weeks, life got hectic again and my gratitude journal fell off.

So you might think I'm mad to even want to try doing this again, but I really like the idea of saying what I am thankful for in my life. One of my favourite stories, and movies, from childhood is Pollyanna. The simple joy that she had as a character came from understanding that if you are thankful for everything in your life you can not be unhappy.

Starting today, for the next 30 days, I will be updating this post on a daily basis with all that I am grateful or "glad" for - whether it is mundane or exciting. After all, so much kindness happens all the time in our daily lives and a lot of time we take that kindness for granted. I recently decided that beauty maybe in the eye of the beholder, but kindess is in the eye of the receiver and the heart of the giver. I think that Pollyanna would be very glad of this view.

“... there is something about everything that you can be glad about, if you keep hunting long enough to find it.”  - Eleanor H. Porter, Pollyana

September 3rd, 2013.
I am grateful for the school bus driver. Today my bus from Jochiwon did not get me in with enough time to make the walk from the bus stop in DaePyeongRi to the school bus (around 10 minutes walk and I would have had about the same time before the school bus left) and have time to get a coffee. I chose coffee and to get the city bus to my school. Whilst waiting on this city bus the school bus driver saw me and picked me up! What a nice start to today!

September 4th, 2013
The second day in a row where I am able to post first thing in the morning! Today when I walked in there was a big envelope on my desk. Recognising my brother-in-law's handwriting, I got that thrill of excitement. I noticed that on the packet it said "Jumper" and immediately I remembered that I had left my jumper at home (it got lost at some point!) and so I thought it my jumper. So imagine my surprise and delight when it wasn't my jumper but a lovely one from my sister and that the envelope contained a lovely card from my sister and a beautiful drawing from my nephew! Another great start to my day!

September 5th, 2013
Today, some of my students, who are preparing for a contest, weren't focusing very well in our class. This made me a little frustrated until I remembered that they are just kids. Despite being Korean age 12, they are actually only 10 and no matter how good they are at English,they are entitled to be giddy and unfocused. So, I'm glad and thankful that today reminded me that kids are kids. On a different note, today we celebrated one of my friends' birthdays. She had her birthday whilst the rest of us were on holiday, so today was my gift to her - Mexican inspired food! So, today I'm thankful for good friends, weird chats, funny stories and lots of laughter. I'm also really grateful that my friends think I'm a good cook! Thanks to their encouragement and enthusiasm, I keep cooking elaborate meals on a one ring stove!

September 6th, 2013
Today, I am grateful for many things: I'm grateful for great friends who share an interest in learning and sharing our faith - Bible Study rocks! I'm grateful for FINALLY deleting Facebook from my mobile phone. I have decided to do this for a month and then I will decide if I want it back on my phone. On a different note, on Wednesday I was asked if I'd stay a 3rd year in Korea. I told my co-teacher that I wasn't ready to make that decision now, but that I think I want to move on to another country. As my contract finishes mid-semester, I offered to stay on until the end of August 2014. Sadly, we found out yesterday this wasn't possible. Due to my disappointment, I wasn't originally able to find anything to be glad about. Now I have: What a great way to make a decision - either I stay or go. If I go, a whole new world of opportunity is at my finger tips! Lastly, my sister, Ms Adventure, is currently conducting cake bakes in our local parish to raise money, football boots and school uniforms, for children in Liberia. €125 sends one child to school for a year. She worked there for 3 months last spring and is now headed back again. My brother also went to Liberia to volunteer with the same program. I am so grateful and proud of both of the and their wonderful gift of giving. They inspire me to be so much better than I am.

September 7th, 2013
I'm grateful for new friends and old, good fun and lots of laughs. Thank you, Swaglu for organising the scavenger hunt. I'm grateful for Saturday lie-in's and Skype chats with my family ~ especially my Aunt and Uncle who I haven't seen in a long time!

September 8th, 2013
I'm grateful that I woke up early this morning and was able to get a walk in right away. Today, some friends and I went to Bear Tree Park which is quite a famous park in Sejong. It's even one of the things on my Korean Bucket list, too! I was really enjoying walking around and seeing all the different walkways and plants. It's really well laid out and beautiful. Unfortunately, when you get to the bears your heart just breaks. There are about 100 bears in a really small enclosure. Seeing the amount of room that they have, really gave the trip a sour note for me and my friends. Despite this, I'm still glad that I went there as it gives me an opportunity to inform people of what they are supporting by going there: a huge park full of beautiful trees and plants but only the most minimal space is given to the bears that this park gets its name from. I think that this is extremely sad and hopefully someday soon this changes. I am going to try and find someone I can write to about this.

September 9th, 2013
Today was a quiet day but I still am thankful! I am thankful that one full week of eating breakfast every morning has been accomplished! I usually don't eat breakfast so this is a huge accomplishment for me. I am thankful for a great lesson with my intermediate level class 3rd - 5th Grade. Lastly, I am thankful for chatting with my sisters and getting the good news that almost €4,000 was raised for Liberia Mission Inc. Well done to my family, I am so proud of them and so grateful for the generosity of people!

September 10th, 2013
I'm grateful for my brother whose birthday is today. He's a great kid and really has a good heart. He alsoworked at Liberia Mission Inc for a few months. I'm grateful for excellent students and that all my classes went well today. I'm grateful for lifts from my school to the bus stop - it means I can get home an HOUR earlier than if I wait for the school bus!

September 11th, 2013
The last few days have been about the little things! Today is no different, so far! I'm so thankful one of my classes is cancelled as I can work on some things that I didn't think I'd get to today! The rest of my day was fantastic - my Beginners English class was so much fun and the kids lapped up doing The wheels on the bus. Looking forward to the next class. This evening was spent making crepes, drinking tea, eating chocolate cake and choux with good friends. Cheers, a cailíní!

September 12th, 2013
Today, again, has been great! Wow, I'm so lucky! All my classes this morning were excellent - even the one where the computer decided not to work. The students liked doing the phonics in 3rd grade and could tell the difference between b,p and f,v - we still have some work to do but YAAAY ...go me and go students.

September 13th, 2013.
Yesterday I left my phone in work and I didn't discover it at home. Whilst this is a big inconvenience and annoyance, I am glad to have no phone today as it helps me to appreciate how easy my life is when I have one. Furthermore, no phone = nap on the bus - both ways! Lastly, I'm grateful for a nice dinner and chat with two of my co-teachers in my 2nd school. It was a lovely evening.

September 14th, 2013
I'm thankful for my good friend Rucy Bear and lots of funny chats. I'm really glad that we were able to hangout this weekend go see The Mortal Insturments: City of Bones. It was like being at home with all the Irish accents creeping through and all the Irish connections even by some of the British actors.

September 15th, 2013
I'm grateful that I finally did my laundry! Again, a great day with Rucy Bear - shopping, books and lunch! Plenty of chats and laughs. Yay for weekends and yay for friends.

September 16th, 2013
I was supposed to meet my friend Aletia today but sadly it didn't happen. I did find something to be glad about though...that means I've something to look forward to next week! Can't wait!
I'm grateful for my  present from my school - soap and shampoo galore! I'm grateful for tea and chats with friends and public swing sets. Swinging is so much fun!

September 17th, 2013
I'm grateful that I got home at a decent time today and that I was able to go out for dinner and drinks with my friends who remained in Jochiwon. We'd a great time and a lot of fun.

September 18th, 2013.
Today we left for Seoul. Whilst we had standing tickets some kind old man gave us his seat and an old lady some paper to sit on when we had to sit on the floor. A beautiful day was spent in Insadong and a funevening was spent in Hongdae. Despite getting hit in the head by a shoe (yes you read that correctly!), I'm glad that it happened as it meant I walked back to the hostel with company. For some bizarre reason the guy from the hostel thought it would be a good idea to attract my attention with a shoe!

September 19th, 2013
Today saw us at Lotteworld which is like Disneyworld (so I'm told)! Right down to the shape and style of the logo! It was fun day and despite not being a huge rollercoaster person I had a lot of fun! The girls were great sports and understood my fear! I even managed two rollercoasters - one called the Comet Express, that was actually pretty cool, and Atlantis, which I barely opened my eyes for and I couldn't open my mouth to scream as I thought my stomach would fall out! We headed for Indian afterwards but unfortunately with it being Chuseok nothing was open. We got chicken and beer which always makes for a lovely meal!

September 20th, 2013
A day at the beach was my plan - sitting down, reading and soaking in the view. Unfortunately the beach I chose for us to go to was not very clean....after about an hour we headed back. I got some reading in though - I spent the day finishing a Jeffrey Deaver book which I really enjoyed called the Stone Monkey.

September  21st, 2013
A day reserved for Gauguin! Sadly, this did not surface! The exhibition is there but it would have been a two hour wait to get in! So sad - but there's an excuse to go back to Seoul next weekend for the last stint of this exhibit!

September  22nd, 2013.
I'm grateful for doing nothing. I laid in my bed, I ate leftover pizza and I watched Supernatural for most of the day. It was wonderful! Also, I'm 2/3 of the way through this challenge! GO ME!

September  23rd, 2013
Today was a mixed day. I said goodbye to my sister as she leaves for Liberia. Whilst I'm sad about this, I'm also really glad as she did an amazing job raising money for the children to go to school and got lots of supplies. The goodness of people really touches me. In other news, I'm glad we finally met for the VIP Festival we have on Saturday. Myself and one of my friends are the MC's - this should be interesting! I'm grateful for 5 minutes of swing time in the playground.

September  24th, 2013
I'm grateful for my open class being over with and that it went quite well. I'm grateful for stumbling across biscuits that taste like Jacob's Lemon Puffs and I'm doubly glad that I've never seen them in the shop or I'd be in trouble!

September 25th, 2013
I'm grateful that despite having rehearsal for the VIP English Festival on Saturday, I was able to go home have a little walk and actually do some dishes and reorganising! They feed us pizza which any Italian friend of mine would shudder to eat, but I'm just glad I got food!

September  26th, 2013
Even though I love teaching, I'm glad I had no classes in the morning! It makes for a relaxing day! I'm grateful for my friend, Wishbone, bringing us to a place that has roast duck! Yes, roasted meat in Korea! So wonderful - and it was stuffed with rice, pumpkin and some nuts and veggies! I'm grateful for the same friend introducing me to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Had a great time watching it! Lastly, I'm grateful for my really kind co-teacher who brought me home.

September  27th, 2013
I'm grateful for a really fun day with my students - all classes participated well and had a lot of fun doing simple relay reading games and roleplays. I found out though at 1.05 - 10 minutes before I started teaching for the next 4 hours that I had to do prompt cards for tomorrow's event. I was extremely frustrated as I wouldn't get to do this in school as I teach until the end of the day. However, it was done in the end which meant I could enjoy my relaxation time - How I met your mother with Becks and the swings with Rucy.

September  28th, 2013
I'm grateful that the VIP English festival went really well and that the organisers thought we did an excellent job MC-ing. I'm grateful for time to just hang out with my friends and a little walk with Rucy.

September  29th, 2013.
Suwon fortress was finally seen! Jules and I went here for the day today and had a nice time despite the dampness and sprinkling rain. We didn't do the whole fortress wall as it would have taken more time than we had. We got a little lost, so I am very grateful for people who gave us directions and a fun time at the Toilet Museum! I'm also grateful for getting my floor completely cleaned :)


 September 30th, 2013
Well, today was just lovely. I'm glad for the whole day! Even though I do LOVE teaching it always nice when you have classes unexpectedly cancelled! The weather was amazeballs and I found out that not only do I have Thursday off but I have field trips on Wednesday and Friday! Lastly, thanks to some brilliant friends for a lovely evening of chat, laughter, cake, doughnuts and chai tea lattes!

October 1st, 2013
So much to be grateful for: I was slightly productive in the morning and on returning home from school, my classes all went well and the kids actually enjoyed relay reading. My phonics class highlighted some work that we still need to do but that's great as it means we can do a few game days using "R". The bus ride home was fantastic as Katetastic and I laughed our way through a Buzzfeed article. The evening was spent catching up with old friends and meeting new ones as we sat outside CU drinking and chatting.

October 2nd, 2013
It's the last day. I've really enjoyed this challenge especially since I did stick with it right to the end!  There's a lot to be thankful for and today is no exception. I'm glad that I spend most of my time teaching and not on field trips. Don't get me wrong, field trips are great and it allows for a better camaraderie with my co-teachers and shows me just how much fun and generous my students are. However, I find it way more exhausting to go on a field trip than to teach all day. As soon as we got back to school I had to slug back a coffee!

So, this challenge is at the end and it's been a great achievement! I really enjoyed doing the 30 days of gratitude and it has given me a new appreciation of just how lucky I am. I recommend this exercise to everyone!

Thank you to everyone who has read these posts, participated in making the last 30 days so gratitude filled or encouraged me in this endeavour! Cheers!

PS This post was inspired by Swaglu's challenge and by "glad" Pollyanna.


  1. Fighting! I'm thankful that you are thankful too. I'm also thankful that you are feeding me dinner tonight.

    1. Thanks, Swaglu! As always you are very welcome! I love cooking for you guys!


Any comments or questions are welcome.

Thank you!