Wednesday, January 9, 2013

On The Bright Side

"When you're chewing on life's gristle,
Don't grumble, give a whistle
And this'll help things turn out for the best...
And always look on the bright side of life...
Always look on the light side of life....

-Eric Idle



We're just a week or so into 2013, and MsCaroline is keeping a positive attitude, mostly through escapism reading and trying to stay busy.  It is truly amazing how little subzero temperatures and a blanket of snow bother if you just stay inside and alphabetize the DVD collection.  Once you've finished cross-referencing by date and production company, you'll find that the time simply flies by.*

But all joking aside, as I mentioned in my last post, we here in Korea are experiencing a winter of record-breaking cold, which is - according to the experts - not even halfway over yet.  Knowing that she has weeks (or months) of bone-chilling temperatures ahead of her, MsCaroline is trying to do doing what the experts recommend and focusing on the positive, which she is finding damned hard challenging.

Nonetheless, she finds that she is making progress, and, with any luck, she won't have descended into gibbering idiocy by the time the cherry blossoms appear again.  What does she think about on those days when the bone-chilling cold, the isolation, and the generally challenging nature of winter in Seoul crush her spirit and sap her will to live?

This stuff - some very little, some big:

  • Not having to pack up and move with 4 weeks' notice:  Although MsC did not discuss this on her blog, much of Autum was shadowed with clouds of anxiety and uncertainty as MrL's company engaged in weighty contract renewal negotiations with their client.  A negative outcome could have meant the dismantling of MrL's office in Korea and a short-notice mid-year move - either back to somewhere in the US (with no guarantee we'd be returning to the city we'd come from) - or another overseas location.  Given that MsCaroline has a contract at her work through July 2013 and Son#2 would have been leaving before semester exams, the potential for a lot of trauma and confusion was very high.  Fortunately, the negotiations concluded positively (with just under two hours to go before the deadline -nothing like the last minute) and the AsiaVu family did not have to make a short-notice international move 3 weeks before Christmas.
  • Being together as a family again:  MsCaroline enjoyed every minute of Son#1's Christmas break in Seoul.  She loved the time she spent with him, and was even more glad that her two sons enjoyed their time together.  (This is what she was hoping for all those years ago when she was living the life of Don't Touch That and That's Mine and  He's Looking At Me.) 



 She does not want to discuss how it felt to watch Son#1 go through the security gate at Incheon when he headed back to the US, though.  She is glad there is Skype.

  • Fantasizing about Lunar New Year and Spring Break Trips to Anywhere Somewhere Warmer:    It is amazing how looking forward to wearing a t-shirt in a few weeks can boost your spirits.  MsCaroline is trying not to think about all the things she has heard about the sheer chaos of traveling anywhere in Asia during Lunar New Year and is, instead, imagining herself sitting outside on a bench in a warm park -not even a beach, just a park - somewhere for 5 straight days.
  • Winter Footwear:  Discussed in detail in another post, and turning out to be the burning issue of The Winter of 2012-2013
  • Perfect Christmas Stuff:  My always-thoughtful and creative sister-in-law, who sent this Christmas ornament to Son#2 to commemorate his trip to London last spring:  



In the same vein, Son#1 - knowing that MrL and MsCaroline are hopeless Game of Thrones fans - got them both GoT-themed coffee mugs.  MsCaroline's is heat-sensitive, which means that, when filled with something hot, it changes from a dark, opaque blue to a white background upon which you can see the phrase, "Winter is coming." MsCaroline knows that it is sad that she is so excited about this, but she doesn't care.



  • Tokens of Esteem:  As long as we're already talking about gifts, MsCaroline is going to go ahead and include the most recent piece of artwork presented to her by one of her little English students.  It was presented - shyly - to her on the first Monday back from Christmas break.  As you can imagine, waking up at 5:15 for the first time in 3 weeks, slogging through the ice and snow to school, and being greeted by a classroom full of loud and energetic children had not done anything for MsCaroline's general state of mind. She was dismissing her class with a certain amount of relief when one of her favorite 2nd-graders appeared before her, waving a crumpled, folded piece of paper.  "Here, MsCaroline," he said, presenting it with a flourish, "I drew this for you when I was on holiday in Singapore. "  MsCaroline, touched and flattered to be thought of by anyone while on holiday in Singapore (by the by, it's 88F/31C in Singapore right now - in case you were wondering) graciously accepted the offered artwork and unfolded it. While she is somewhat perplexed as to the connection between herself and vampires, she is not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, and stated delightedly that the artwork would be hung with all due ceremony on her fridge that very evening.
          And it was.

First gift of the New Year.  Note excellent use of perspective by 8-year-old.  I don't know if he's just going through a vampire phase or if he felt somehow that a vampire somehow suited me.



*This may be a slight exaggeration

4 comments:

linda@adventuresinexpatland.com said...

Oh MsCaroline, this post made me chuckle so much that I had to put down my koffie for fear of spewing it over the laptop screen (that or choking on it, neither of which is ideal). Came out of the gates strong and maintained a rollicking pace throughout. First post I read today, thank you for starting it off right!

MsCaroline said...

Thanks Linda, that's good to hear - I was trying to find that fine balance between whining and humor!

Naomi Hattaway said...

Linda -- SO great "came out of the gates strong and maintained" --- (and yes it IS lovely in Singapore, though it stays the SAME day in and day out ... swap you for a day?)

BavarianSojourn said...

I like every single point on that list! The picture is great too! Do hope it's not a portrait?!? :D