Here’s to remembering the last month of 2020. I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that 2020 is over, especially since I feel like I’m still stuck in March. To say that 2020 was a wild ride is an understatement but I think it was a great learning lesson. To be honest, I was super looking forward to 2020 and thought it was going to be like 2016 part 2. To this day, 2016 has been the best years of my life because I graduated from high school, traveled a lot, and started my college experience. It was the first time where I felt super independent and created some life-long fun memories. Therefore, I thought 2020 would kind of be like re-living 2016 with graduating from college, lots of travel plans, and creating more life-long fun memories. However, it took a turn so fast and it was one that I never expected. Although I’ve lost a lot of plans from graduation ceremonies to planned fun activities, I realized that I’m still so lucky to have been healthy. This year made me reflect and become more thankful for the small things we take for granted such as health and it inevitably made me feel more fortunate than being stuck on everything I’ve lost. I also realized the things I’ve lost is nothing compared to what others have lost in 2020. I know that I don’t have to compare my sadness with other people because sadness is not a competition, but I think it just made me become a more thankful person.
Lifestyle: Four Months in Korea Come to an End
December 2020 was the last month I was going to be in Korea. I’ve been in Korea for a little over four months and it’s the longest I’ve ever stayed in Korea after immigrating to America when I was 6 years old. Although I’ve visited Korea every summer since I was a little kid, it was always very limiting due to summer breaks and going back to school. I’ve also never experienced winter in Korea after 6 years old (which I honestly don’t have the memory of) and I was super happy to have experienced so many different seasons while being here. I got to feel the humidity of the summer heat, the pretty colors of the fall leaves, and the beautiful yet cold winter snowflakes. Honestly, I was most excited about the snow because I’ve rarely seen snow falling and especially in large amounts. I got to see the streets covered in snow and my mother said it looked like she was taking a puppy to see their first snow because I was running around and looking excited. All in all, I often forget that different seasons exist living in Southern California, and getting to visibility see the seasons change was very exciting.
For the month of December, I worked from home in Korea because Covid-19 was rising here as well. Although the change from working in an office to working alone in my room felt strange and a little lonely, I quickly fell into the routine of it. I also kind of fell in love with the convenience of not having to commute so long for work and getting to be wearing my pajamas while working. I also got to incorporate more working out sessions after work now that I didn’t have to waste time commuting back home. I didn’t really get to work-out a lot due to pure laziness as well as feeling like I didn’t have enough time in the day. I realized that working out, whether it be just a 30 minute run, made a lot of my stress go away and put me in such a better mood. All-in-all, it was another learning lesson to figure out how to adjust to the new work environment and how to be productive in my room.
This month was the holiday season and I got to really celebrate the holidays in our own way. My family is not one for Christmas decorations and the expected holiday traditions that you may typically see online (listen to ep 3 of our Knowledge Post College Podcast). However, my mom and I decided to actually do the whole gift exchange this year as well as do a small decoration. We also got to buy a Christmas cake and had a whole feast. I didn’t realize how popular it was to eat cake during the holidays in Korea but we were lucky to have gotten one. I felt super blessed that my mom and I were able to afford being able to give each other presents as well as getting time off of our work to spend time with each other.
Since it was my last month in Korea, I got to take a quick trip with my family in a cabin up in Gangwon-do again. Although we basically just stayed in the cabin and the area we were staying at without much exploring due to Covid, it was so much fun making memories with my family. I saw more snow, ate the famous Korean beef that they’re known for, and relaxed. I got to go with my grandparents on this trip and I felt so much joy seeing how much they really enjoyed spending more time with me. I was sad that I didn’t get to see them as much due to my work schedule, but it felt like this trip made up for it!
Lows: Communication is Important
Luckily, I didn’t have too many lows for this month but the one I can think of is a situation that didn’t work in my favor. There was a situation at work that I needed to figure out due to my transition from working in Korea to soon be working in America starting in January. There were some miscommunication and a lot of things to figure out before leaving for America. I don’t really want to get super detailed because it is a private conversation. However, a lot of the things I was thinking about on my part was turned down. Although we got to some mutual somewhat middle ground in the end, I can’t say I’m 100% satisfied. However, it was a learning lesson that I at least got to voice my opinion and stand up for myself when needed. I also got to hear their opinion and what their thought process on the situation was.
Lessons: Learning to Adjust
One lesson I took this month as well as a lesson I took in general of 2020 was learning to adjust to unforeseen circumstances. A lot of the things I experienced in 2020 were unexpected. I never thought I would be taking my last college finals online, having an online graduation ceremony, and starting a full-time job in Korea. A lot of the things I expected and planned disappeared and although things felt hopeless at the time, I still made great memories. Taking my last few classes online made me feel more grateful for the class experiences I took for granted. Having an online graduation ceremony pushed Stephanie and I to have our own way of celebrating at our house (listen to ep 2 of our Knowledge Post College Podcast for details hehe). Going to Korea, I never expected to actually land a full-time job yet I felt so lucky to have had a source of income at such a hard time in our world. The memories I made were different to my expectations but not bad. Even through the hardships, I learned to be more grateful for everything I had because it’s a lot harder to be appreciative of everything you have when your life is always great.
Another lesson I took was learning to be more confident with myself in the present and have hope that I am on the right path to wherever I want to be in the future. Oftentimes I wonder whether I am possibly at the best place I could be in the moment and whether I could do better or have it worse. I also wonder what I would look like in a few years from now and whether what I am doing now will matter in the future or all become worth it in the end. There’s a Korean show I watched called “나 혼자 산다" or “I live alone,” which is a series of episodes that showcase different celebrities’ day in their life. In one of the episodes, one of the guys decided he wanted to have his own marathon from his house to this certain destination that was miles and miles away. It was a long journey and he was able to accomplish it in the end with lots of sweat and overcoming moments of wanting to give up. What stood out to me the most was what he said. He talked to his peers about how to certain people it might seem odd that he wanted to do this journey in the first place and it may not seem like a big accomplishment. However to him, it felt like one of the greatest things he’s ever accomplished because it was his goal for a while. It showed that sometimes your goals aren't the same as other people but accomplishing it doesn’t mean that it’s not significant. You have to establish your own goals and have your own journey, even if it might look different to others. What I loved more was a quote that popped up in the end of the journey, which said:
“작은 걸음이 큰 걸음이 될 때까지,” which translates to “Until small steps become big steps”
This showed how one step in his marathon eventually became two steps and then the final step in his marathon. This really showed that small steps can eventually become bigger steps to reach the goal. It also illustrates that the small steps he took in his marathon eventually became a big step in his life of accomplishing a goal that he had for a while. It inspired me that the small step I am taking in my life right now can eventually be of help in becoming a big step into my future.
Songs on Repeat:
Safe With Me (with Audrey Mika) - Gryffin, Audrey Mika
Jasper Avenue - CaRter
summer float - Linmu, UMI
Chilly - NIKI
Midsummer Madness - 88rising
Love Affair - UMI
My Pick of the Month: Blue Light Glasses!
My pick of the month are blue light glasses! I’ve actually started using this at the start of the year because I heard they were good for your eyes. However, I really saw the benefits from them when I started working from home and basically looking at a screen all day long. I definitely feel like my eyes feel less tired and strained from looking at the computer. I definitely suggest you get one if you were thinking about getting one! It's perfect right now with so many students taking online classes and a lot of work from home consisting of looking at a screen all day long. I got mine from Amazon with a pack of two but you can find them everywhere.
In the end, 2020 was a year no one expected. It was inevitably one of the hardest years of my life but such a great learning lesson. I truly got to reflect myself as a person and what my morals were like. I got to reflect all of the small things I took for granted and realized I actually did have so much to be thankful for. I started new chapters in my life in a way I never thought I would. It was a year that I can never forget. I’m still so thankful for everything I have experienced in 2020 because it has truly shaped who I am today. With that being said, I’m still SO ready to leave this chapter in my life behind. I’m still scared of what 2021 could potentially bring but here’s to being more hopeful. I know that there’s still so much to be done that hasn’t been fixed in 2020 but here’s to trying!
Talk to you next year,