The Grass is Greener…

31 07 2009

After spending about 6 weeks in Canada, I’m back in Seoul after a deadly 17 hour flight. I’m one of those people that finds it impossible to sleep on planes, so I always dread the overseas flights. 17 hours of staring at that LCD monitor in the seat back in front of you is a recipe for blurred vision and tired eyes.

I’ve been here for just over a week now. It’s funny, but when I was in Canada, I thought about all the things I miss about Korea. Now that I’m in Korea, all I think about, is what I miss about Canada. Sigh. Why is it such a challenge to just accept and appreciate the things that are here in front of me, now? Pure, focused, in the moment gratitude would make life just that much sweeter and juicier, I think.

Without further ado, a list:

Things I Miss about Canada, when I’m in Korea:

  • My friends
  • My family
  • Tim Hortons coffee
  • the ease with which I can find clearly labelled organic produce and products without worrying that maybe it’s false marketing, or just a lack of english comprehension
  • understanding everything everybody around me says all the time
  • a relative lack of humidity
  • space, beautiful space!
  • cheap Bikram yoga classes ($11 a class. In Korea, they are minimum $19 per class!)
  • good haircuts
  • the dryer (yes, the laundry dryer – we hang clothes to dry here)
  • Network Spinal Care and various other plentiful energy based healing modalities
  • deli meats – yes, spicy salami, mortadella, roast beef

Things I Miss about Korea, when I’m in Canada

  • The Furry Bear boyfriend
  • fresh, local produce that has lots and lots of flavour
  • the jimjilbang
  • the overall sense of calm and peace I feel here
  • being surrounded by lush greenery and colourful flowers
  • the lack of attitude that most Koreans have
  • unique fashion – anything goes!
  • cheap, beautiful, interesting shoes
  • a plethora of amazing travel options – thailand, vietnam, china, malaysia, cambodia, japan – mostly for less than $500!

Spare Change and Garbage

18 07 2009

Toronto is in the middle of a city workers strike. I think it’s been going on for about 3 weeks. What this means is that garbage is not being picked up, city parks are closed, and my condo occupancy was delayed. Ugh. This has got to be the most unsympathetic strike in the history of striking. Obviously, I don’t have all the facts, but I think it has something to do with banked vacation days. Um…banked vacation days?! REALLY!! In the midst of the greatest global economic meltdown of the last 50 years, while people are losing their jobs AND their homes, our city workers are complaining about the fact that they can’t bank their vacation days! Really quite unbelievable. Where is the gratitude?

So far it hasn’t been too bad. When I heard about it, I envisioned piles of garbage…like in Naples a little while ago. I guess there are private companies hired to pick up most of the garbage, but with the strike wearing on, Yonge Street is starting to get pretty stinky. Count our blessings that Toronto has been unusually dry and cool this summer.

I’ve been in Toronto now for about a month, and one thing I am still having trouble getting adjusted to (besides the garbage), is people asking for spare change. I think it is this more than anything that has made me realize that I can’t really call myself a true Torontonian anymore. I am shocked anytime anyone asks me for change…because it just doesn’t really happen too often in Asia.

Between this, the piles of garbage, the 15% tax rate, and the obligation to tip service staff for subpar service, I’m about ready to head on back to Korea…

North America is Overweight

2 07 2009

Sorry, for the complete lack of posting, but I’ve been travelling for the last few weeks. Back to Toronto for a week, and then to visit my parents in Calgary for 3 weeks. There’s been a wedding, a 6 day fast, a City of Toronto strike and ensuing condo drama, a real estate decision and much more. It’s been an eventful month. I think it’ll feel quite good to get back to Korea…which¬† is so peaceful and low stress for me. Probably because I don’t have to think about numbers or money too much over there.

One thing I’ve noticed since moving away from Canada, and then coming back, is that the average person looks much larger than they did before. Put it this way; in Korea, I feel kinda chubby, but in Canada, I feel slim. I haven’t changed, but clearly my environment has.

Of course, there is a broad spectrum of people in any country, but overall, I gotta say that I’ve seen a lot of unhealthily overweight people here. I mean, there are a few in Korea…no wait, have I actually ever seen an obese person in Korea? No, I don’t think so. Not unless they were an expat working there. But here in Canada, I see at least 2 or 3 obese people everyday. It’s a symptom of a culture that is fundamentally sick. Why do we, in one of the most prosperous and abundant places on earth, feel that we need to overeat to the point of unhealthiness? How can we be so unfulfilled?