A Gratitude List

Gratitude List Title Image

I’ve heard of gratitude lists before and even gratitude journals. Apparently, successful people wake up every morning and write in their journals what they are grateful for. I had been planning to write a gratitude list today, but it just so happens I’m feeling really shitty about something. No one but myself to blame for the consequences. Hopefully, doing this will make me feel a bit better.

  1. I have family who I can call and will support me without judgement.
  2. My job is renewing my contract for another year.
  3. I have two dogs that love and care about me.
  4. I have a fantastic support group of women I can contact whenever I’m having a hard time.
  5. I’m able to live and lead the life I choose.
  6. I work in an environment that allows me to creative and is happy that I’m there.
  7. I don’t currently have any major health problems.
  8. There are people in my community who are happy to see me.
  9. I have the respect of my students.
  10. I’m in a position in life where I can fix my fuck-ups.

Okay, that was actually more difficult than I expected. I kind of got stuck after 6 and I was tearing up towards the end. Do I feel better? Yes. Did the reality of my problem go away? No. However, I feel like when I tell myself that it’s going to be okay, I believe it a bit more.

Check out my Insta story and tell me what you’re grateful for!
Have you seen my bucket list?

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows – Book Review

Balli Kaur Jaswal’s Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows follows a writing class for Punjabi widows that morphed from an ESL class to an erotic creative writing class. Giggling and shy, the women use these stories to demand the respect and authority they desire in their everyday life. Throw in a little romance and murder mystery all mixed together with the immigrant experience, and Jaswal has created a novel that pleases all readers, in more ways than one. *wink*

Fiery-eyed and indignant, they would pen their stories for the whole world to read.

Balli Kaur Jaswal, Erotic Stores for Punjabi Widows

Characters

The main character, Nikki, is a daughter of Indian immigrants. She has grown up with the mindset of your average millennial, but choices come at a price. Nikki struggles at home with the pressures to follow cultural expectation. However, she watches as the Punjabi widows in her class defy these cultural expectations.

Nikki never imagined these traditional widows would be interested in erotic stories, much less write them. The widows all crave something they can’t have or never had in their lives. The classes started off as a secret rebellion, something not to be shared outside the classroom. But, it’s hard to keep a secret. Especially ones about newlywed Indian women taking control in the bedroom.

Death is better than life if a girl doesn’t have her honor. Sometimes the younger generation needs this reminder.

Balli Kaur Jaswal, Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows

My Thoughts

When I picked up this book, I was a little worried I would be lost in a culture I knew nothing about. However, Jaswal does a fantastic job of educating the reader about Punjabi and Indian culture. She does this in a humorous way that allowed me to comfortably slip into a foreign culture.

Perhaps passion and excitement were meant to be secondary to a stable adult life.

Balli Kaur Jaswal, Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows

Trying to compare this to any other book is futile. It’s unlike anything I’ve come across before. It was such a new experience and everyone should try reading it. There is some sexually explicit scenes, but the erotic stories are italicized so you can easily skip over them if you want. Usually, the stories don’t go into too much detail and they aren’t long and drawn out.

Overall, highly recommend! 5 out of 5! Please read it so I can have someone to discuss it with!

Check out some of my other bookish thoughts!

Failosophy

The Try Guys have a chapter in their book The Hidden Power of F*cking Up called “Failosophy.” After reading it, memories of failure, rushed to the forefront of my mind. Remembering those moments was emotional, but I did notice a pattern. Most of my failure memories were associated with fear, shame, and embarrassment. The try guys talked about their failosophy, and now it’s my turn.

Fear

My friend in university was interested in joining a band club. I remember trying to convince her to go try out, but she was totally against it.  The bottom line was she was afraid to try out and be rejected (or fail). I countered that by asking why it mattered that she failed and she told me she didn’t want to be one of those people who fails.  This is really when I realized that people have a big fear of failure even when it’s over something as simple as trying out for a club.

However, fear is just a symptom of the underlying problem. Our fear comes from the shame and embarrassment of failing. Somewhere along the line, we as a society have decided that failure is something to be ashamed of and avoid at all costs. Not only that, but when we see someone fail, it’s typically followed by others laughing or teasing. Wonderful.

Shame

People call me a hobby hopper, as in someone who jumps from one hobby to the next without committing to one thing.  Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with that, but people have used that as an insult against me.  “You never stick to one thing.”  “You try and just give up!”  “Why don’t you keep going and get better at it?”

I have to keep reminding myself that there is no shame in trying. Actually, it’s impressive that I tried in the first place! I’ve tried cross-stitching, I know what it’s like and know to do it, and I really don’t enjoy it. AND THAT’S OKAY. I don’t have to keep cross-stitching for the rest of my life. Cross-stitching taught me that I get enjoyment from tasks that take less time and show quicker results. I’ve learned something about myself and acquired a new skill. Neither of those should be shamed, but should be celebrated.

Embarrassment

I don’t recall the exact moment when embarrassment entered my life, but it did and I can’t say I’m pleased with that. I think the purpose of embarrassment is the same as fear, to keep us from doing things that can harm us. However, embarrassment has morphed into this horrible thing that now stops us from trying new things.

When I was in high school, I really wanted to be a drum major. I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone this, but it’s true. I remember being envious of my friends who were chosen and wishing I had been brave enough to try out for the position. You know why I didn’t try out? Because I was embarrassed of looking silly while learning how to be a good drum leader. I don’t regret much, but this is something I would change if I could go back.

I see my middle school students go from being care free to reserved as pressure to reach a certain standard builds on them. Korea stresses English language learning in schools, but students are too embarrassed to TRY speaking English for fear of not using proper grammar or pronunciation. Honestly, I’m the same way when it comes to Korean. I’m embarrassed to speak Korean and say something wrong. I hate that I’m an adult who is perpetuating this idea that you need to be embarrassed when trying or learning.

Breaking Free

It’s important for me to remember there is nothing wrong with trying. I can’t let embarrassment stop me and I can’t let others shame me into not trying. Not all of my tries will be grand, but the scale of the try isn’t important. What’s important is that I did something I was nervous or anxious about and learned form the experience. Let’s take this year to try new things together!

Well, that’s all for my failosophy. What things would you include in your failosophy?
Come see what I’ve been trying lately!

The Pizza Predicament

The Pizza Predicament Title Image

Where to Begin?

I’m not sure exactly where to start off this story, but I guess I should give a little background information.  I currently live in a very small town in South Korea.  There genuinely isn’t much here and our only claim to fame is a filming site for a movie no one watches anymore.  Because I’m vegetarian there aren’t many options of places to get food.  Surprisingly,  pretty much everything at restaurants have meat in it.  So, I’ve got about two places I go to and one of them is pizza.

The Pizza

There are a couple places that have pizza here, but my favorite is a place called Pizza Tour.  They don’t deliver, so usually I go straight there after work and get myself a potato pizza.  I know, potato pizza sounds weird, but don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it!  The only two people who work there are the owners, husband and wife.  I think the husband does other work during the day since the wife is usually there alone and he gets to the restaurant around 5pm-ish.  They are so, so kind and have helped me out a few times.  Once it started to pour down rain after I had gotten inside.  Before I could leave the wife told me to wait.  I watched her go to the back room and come back with an umbrella!  She didn’t want me getting wet on the way back to my car.

The Predicament

I have to admit that I get pizza too often.  I get it at least once a week (usually on Fridays), but sometimes I get it twice a week if I don’t feel like cooking.  It’s at the point where if I was going to move, I would stop and tell them goodbye before doing so.  Anyway, I was there on a Friday getting my weekly potato pizza when the husband tried to tell me something.

Language Barriers

My Korean level is that of an infant.  Their English level is almost non-existent.  So, there we were at the counter trying to communicate.  He would say a sentence and I would look confused.  He tried again and I would repeat back the words I understood so that we could potentially work towards the goal of communication.  It was very tedious and it took probably a good 10 minutes.  I know this, because I know exactly how long it takes for them to cook my pizza.  Eventually we got to the point where I understood that they were trying to tell me.  They would be out of town for a week!  I was so excited that we finally got the message across, but I was also sad because no pizza for a week.  He then proceeded to tell me that they weren’t getting another dough shipment, so they may run out of dough before then.

Disappointment and Embarrassment

After the husband finished telling me what was going on, the wife had come to the counter to talk as well.  This is where I started to get embarrassed… The wife proceeds to look at me all concerned and say “Oh, no!  What are you going to eat if not pizza??”  All I could do was laugh and tell her that I would be fine.  But she still seemed very concerned for my well-being.  I can cook and I frequently do!  I’m just lazy and I really like pizza.  So, as I walked out of Pizza Tour with my potato pizza, I immediately called my friend here in Korea to tell her my story.  We laughed at my embarrassment together 🙂

Potato Pizza from Pizza Tour
The key to a good potato pizza is full potato wedges. Little potato chunks just don’t cut it.

The Truth

Pizza!  The next week I drove past the shop and looked to see if they were open.  One day I passed to see a sign on the door and workers pulling equipment out of the shop.  My heart broke in two.  They weren’t closing for a week.  I had misunderstood.  They were closing FOREVER and moving to ANOTHER TOWN.

Now

It’s been almost a year since they’ve closed and I haven’t had a pizza to match what they cooked.  They moved their store about an hour and  a half away, and I have to admit that I’ve been tempted to try and find them.  One day I will track them down and tell them how much I’ve missed them.  Until then, I’ll need to learn to make my own pizza…

Bucket List

A bucket list always seemed like something people do when they are about to die. A Walk to Remember, anyone? But, as I’ve gotten older I realize that you need little things in life to look forward to.

My mom told me what gets her through her nursing shifts, is knowing which vacation she will be going on next. When I’m in a rut, I need to make some sort of plan (even a stay-cation) to get my spirits up.

So, here I am 29 years old with 29 things on my bucket list!

  1. learn to trick rope
  2. make a build-a-bear
  3. have a personal library full of books I love
  4. adopt a child
  5. buy lots of land
  6. get a scrub at a Korean bath house
  7. buy a modern hanbok
  8. visit all 50 states
  9. have a farm
  10. get my master’s degree
  11. work as a librarian
  12. grow a vegetable garden
  13. go to the Australia zoo
  14. learn to drive stick
  15. road trip to the grand canyon
  16. fly first class
  17. learn Korean
  18. get a tattoo
  19. run a marathon
  20. see the northern lights in Iceland
  21. vacation at Giraffe Manor
  22. visit my online friends
  23. ride a hot air balloon
  24. go on an epic hike
  25. have a black lamb named Jennifer
  26. go to a drive in movie
  27. have a lake or beach house
  28. travel to different countries
  29. work with exotic animals

Well, there’s my bucket list? What’s on yours?

Interested in my running updates?
What books have you been reading lately?

My Year of Try – Following The Try Guys

birthday photo

I’m a Failure

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! I’m 29 years old and coming close to that dreaded 30 years of age.  Looking back I really wish I’d done more with my life.  My anxiety has really held me back from taking risks.  Don’t misunderstand, I’m not a boring person and I do try things, I moved to South Korea for goodness sakes! But I have to admit that most of my “try”s, are more along the lines of knitting and acrylic pouring.  If you were to take all my attempts and put them into a “success” or “fail” category, a large percentage of them would be fails.  And you know what, I’m okay with that.  Wanna know why?  BECAUSE I TRIED NEW THINGS!  However, this year I want to try more.

I am a huge fan of The Try Guys.  I’ve followed them since their first few Buzzfeed videos about trying on ladies’ underwear and sexy Halloween costumes.  I fell in love with their group chemistry, but, I continued to follow them because they have the same basic philosophy that I have.  Try things!  The only difference between us is I’ve tried scrap-booking while The Try Guys do things like prank their coworkers and strip shows.

So, for my birthday present to myself, I’m going to try things that really push me.  I haven’t quite determined what exactly I’m going to do, but I’m going to use The Try Guys’ new book The Hidden Power of F*cking Up as inspiration as well as some of their YouTube videos.  This will be my year of TRY!