Expat Dribble

Andrea Avery Jackley: An expat with lots of dribble to write about.

6.7.09

It was a lazy Sunday, and I whittled away my time walking around the city and snapping photos, as I often like to do when I’m at home on the weekend. Bleak, grey, with a cool tinge to the air and the usual amount of humidity, giving the back of my neck and upper lip their usual dampness; I marched through new neighborhoods for about two hours, taking in the scenery. The rainy season will be upon us soon, I’m told, so I’m trying to make the most of my time outdoors.

And while all of this is completely insignificant and of no interest to anyone but myself, I did have a thought worth throwing online:

When I first arrived in Korea and my boss brought me to my “apartment”, which is actually one room with tiny sub-divisions for a closet-sized kitchenette and laundry area (oh, and of course the all-inclusive bathroom with aforementioned dual sink-shower); I wasn’t at all surprised… just slightly melancholic. The color of the walls reminded me of a hospital room, and where in the world was I supposed to put all of my soon-to-be purchased, currently non-existent belongings? 

After a couple of weeks of riding high on the adrenaline of actually moving to and living in Asia, it dawned on me that my little room had become quite comfortable. I made a few minor improvements in color and portable space, and I almost… liked not having so much clutter around me. I had settled into a loose routine that was previously incomprehensible to my spoiled Western mindset: purchasing only what I needed. It included going to the local market twice a week and stocking my tiny fridge with fresher foods, some bottled water, and maybe a small bottle of laundry detergent. It all seemed so – what’s that word? – simple. 

And I can’t help but think that, in my new, simpler lifestyle, I somehow feel more free than I’ve almost ever been. By de-cluttering my surroundings, I have, in turn, de-cluttered my mind. There’s a real freedom that comes with removing the superfluous from your life. My creative juices are flowing again; and instead of coming home from work drained from corporate politics as well as long hours, I have a renewed sense of self-purpose. I have re-discovered (I would like to believe that I knew this at one time, in a previous life) what gives me the greatest pleasure, and what I appreciate the most outside of my family and friends: living life. 

If you haven’t before, I suggest you try de-cluttering your life. It’s a real good high.

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