Reasons for Joy

I’ve officially caught my first stress cold of the new move.  THAT’s not a reason to be joyful–we’ll get to that in a minute.

I’m an introvert–and a fairly severe one at that.  All it means is that I need a lot of personal time in order to re-group, re-energize, reflect, and be sane.  So, when I need some time to re-energize, and I don’t want to take it, my body gets sick.  Convenient, huh?  I don’t get colds during cold season.  I get them at the most inopportune times–like, when I’m on a shortened summer vacation and have lots of people to see or, like this weekend, when there’s an international beer festival in town.  I know right?  Salt in the wound, my friends.  Even today, Tim went to Seoul to go bike shopping and exploring and I’m stuck at home, re-grouping, recovering, and hanging out with my cat.  In other words, I sort of feel like I’m missing out.  SO–in order to make myself feel better, and put myself in a positive mood, I’m going to show you a few things that I am so happy for here, rather than dwelling on the reasons why I caught a cold.  Because little things add up to big joy sometimes.

So, here are some small things that put me in a good mood:

First of all, I’m a beer, red wine, and Irish whiskey kind of girl  (now, I do love a good sapphire martini, but those are reserved for certain times of year and occasions).  If you’ve ever lived in a country where the only available beer is the locally made, headache-inducing pilsner (and they all taste the same), of which both Ecuador and Turkey fall into this category, then you can understand my beer anguish of the last 4 years.  At least in Ecuador we could get Argentinean and Chilean wines.  In Turkey, it’s only Turkish wine, and I am sorry.  I love Turkey, but Turkish wine is terrible.  There, I said it, and I’m not taking it back.  The local Korean beer is ALSO the same old headache-inducing pilsner.  Friends of ours believe these beers all over the world are preserved with formaldehyde, thus the headache.  I don’t know if that’s true, but Tim and I are both affected by the local brew.  A good rule of thumb is keep to under 2, and you’ll be fine.  However, wonderful beers that I love are imported!  Yes, they are a tad pricey, but life is too short to drink bad beer!  Above is just a sampling of what we currently have in the fridge.  You’ll also notice the Argentine and Chilean wines.  These can be bought for about $10–pretty close to States prices.  All other wines are crazy expensive, so imagine my complete relief.    This makes me happy.  This is cause for celebration and joy.

I adore Asian food.  Thai, Chinese, Japanese, and now, Korean.  I always said sushi was a food I could eat everyday and never tire of.  Of course, that’s likely an exaggeration, because I’m all-American, and our pleasure in food comes from variety and uniqueness of flavor combinations.  As far as I can tell, we are the only people on the planet who prefer so much variety and choice in our diets.  I’m thankfully now somewhere that I really love the local food.  We’ve got dumplings and rice bowls and Asian noodles and seaweed and sesame oil comin’ out the wazoo.  Food, something that seems so trivial, can contribute horribly to culture shock and if you can’t get things you know and like, and you don’t like the local food, you’re in for a hard time.  We thankfully have both here.  We are loving the local food, but also have access to so much more of our familiar items than we did in the local grocery stores of Ecuador or Turkey.

When was the last time your kitchen sink gave you joy?  The last time for me was in our little condo in Boulder.  We had beautiful granite counter tops and an awesome, deep, stainless sink.  But it wasn’t as big as this one!  Let me back up a bit.  My husband is a foodie.  He is quite a cook, and is also the type of person who needs a square meal every night.  Me?  I can’t be bothered.  Food to me is a pain in the ass, so I am beyond happy to let him keep me fed.  That means that I do the cleaning.  So I spend a half hour or more every night in front of the kitchen sink (no dishwasher).  In Turkey, in our little cement block, the kitchen sink was tiny.  It wouldn’t hold large cooking dishes and it was awkwardly placed.  Amazingly, they would have those same sinks in large, modern kitchen too, so this was truly baffling to me.  Behold, my kitchen sink that will hold a full-sized cutting board, baking dish, large pot, or anything else Tim might use for his nightly creations.  This makes my life so much easier.

Another cause for joy is the sheer size of our new house.  I have a dedicated yoga room that overlooks my running park, a walk-in closet, and an office (in addition to a large master bedroom and a guest bedroom).  We have never had this much space before–ever, and it is glorious!  Just ask my frisky cat who loves to tear all over it, up and down the hallway, chasing us or toys.

There are many things right with the above two pictures.  First of all, there are two bathrooms.  Maybe it sounds simple to you, but if you’ve ever shared a single bathroom with your spouse and various house guests, then you understand.  Having two makes everyone happy.  Secondly, we have a bathtub.  My husband enjoys a bath every now and then.  Happy husband = joyful Erin.  It’s just a strange coincidence that there’s a television in the tub.  Lastly, the shower in the other bathroom is the width of the bathroom and has both the regular shower head and the rain head.  This is cause for joy because in Turkey, our single bathroom had a tube that enclosed a small corner of the room and that was the shower.  You could not bend over–so dropping the soap was an ordeal, or fit more than one person, which translates, again, to soap-retrieving being an arduous task.

Did I mention that Bali loves her new home?  She has huge windows to gaze out, a long hallway to race up and down, and a giant scratchy lounge that we found at the store.  Happy Bali = Happy Erin.

This is just a sampling of the various small things about our new home that I’m thankful for.  When the locals, or the weather, or your stress-cold gets you down, try this exercise.  I feel better already.

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