A couple days ago I shared on Instagram that I attended the first Happiness Workshop presented in Seoul!
What I didn’t tell you is that it took me 3 days to recover from that experience.
When I saw the message pop up on my Facebook feed the night before the event, I had no idea what I was about to get myself into. I had never heard of We Work and their monthly seminars before, but the marketing vibe was good, and I was totally lured in by the hands-on component of the workshop. I decided, why not? And off I went.
Well I thought the best thing was to avoid dealing with traffic in Seoul, so I decided to dedicate myself to public transportation. For whatever reasons, I did not check the weather before leaving. I did pack my rain jacket and decided to carry a water-resistant backpack, just in case. However, I soon realized my error when I started walking to the nearest subway. Within seconds I was drenched to the core. Maybe if I was heading to any other type of seminar, I would have said I had enough and turned around to somewhere more inviting. But there was a secret hidden message in my brain saying that rainbows and unicorns were waiting for me. So, I smiled and though it all amusing. Even when I was splashed by a tidal wave of street water. I simply nodded and thought ‘well that figures’ and thought how dry I would be if only I had an umbrella.
The apps I normally relied on, failed me and I ended up walking much farther in the wrong direction than I really needed to. I ducked down into the subway entrance for a breather and to get a better idea of where I was going. My navigation app was drunk and spinning its needles. I tried a different approach and decided my best option was to take the bus. Which meant back up I must go. Bracing myself for impact I reemerged, only to find the skies of Seoul mocking me. All hints of the torrent gone. I couldn’t help but be amazed at how dry everyone looked, while I felt the water in my wet jeans crawl upwards. I didn’t let this sour my mood. True I was unprepared for the weather, but much of what happened to me was truly uncontrollable.
While waiting for my ride to the land of happiness, I joked with a man about the swift turn of the weather and getting caught in it. He offered his umbrella a magical talisman then kept the rain away from the rest of the night. I told him that I had wished for one 5 minutes before and that every time I use it I would remember him and his generosity! I talked with him and his family about where we were each from. “California and Texas,” I said. “Oh! This street is California so really you are close to home!” I was wet to the bone, but I felt we laughed like we were friends enjoying a warm day at the beach.
Eventually I made it to where the workshop was, late. The vibe of the place was good, the beer was nice, and everyone in attendance made me not feel so miserable about being wet. Some of the information was a refresher of the research I had read before, but the presentation was fun. I walked away that night with thinking about things I hadn’t considered before. There were a couple of exercises that left me feeling slightly vulnerable, but it made me aware of things that were important to me. One of which, is how under dressed I was for an event in Gangnam. A younger version of me would have been aghast that I would have considered my Hello Kitty t-shirt and jeans as appropriate for this kind of business casual event. Here is my dilemma. I gave away all my business suits or over time I grew too big for them. I realize I have no clue what my style is anymore, and if I did it probably died in an out of business sale 10 years ago. Eventually it would be nice to find something comfortable and still convey a fashionable sense of me. But given the choice between a nice outfit or an adventure, the unknown would win every time.
I spent the evening talking with a couple gals from my table. A little too long because when I tried to route my way home, the app told me I was out of my mind. It tried to send me in circles before I took matters in my own hands and use my past experiences to figure out what direction I really should take. Later I would realize the app was trying to tell me to give up the thought of going home and find some place to be comfortable until the subway/train line ran again in the morning. But I am a bit stubborn at times and this was one of those times. I was running on a happy high and feeling hopeful about finding a magical portal home. So, a bit after midnight, I was dismayed at being kicked out of train station an hour away from home in the middle of nowhere.
The app was very helpful in telling me that my best option was to wait for the next train at 5:45am (the moment of clarity having arrived) or I could take my chances and walk 5 hours. I messaged my husband about the kind of evening I was having. He couldn’t come rescue me because Camp Humphreys is under curfew. While intended for misbehaving drunks we couldn’t expect an exception to policy. Not that it mattered, because it turns out I had the key to my rescue in my purse. We finally concluded that I should I either find a hotel for the night or take a taxi home. I decided take a taxi and made it onto post around o’ dark thirty.
The next task loomed before me-walking around the flightline to my parked vehicle. I was tired and found myself falling asleep while walking. Time seem to play tricks one me and I think I made it safely home by giving my unicorn friend a couple of motivational pep talks. It must have done the job because I was greeted by my home defense trained chihuahua. As I drifted off to sleep I remembered the speaker asking us to share with the group what we say to ourselves when things don’t go well. There might have been a time when I told myself ‘I believed everything happens for the reason’. Now that I am older, I think shit happens and we make the most of it. And then maybe one day we can tell our shitty stories and have a laugh about it.
Basically, when stuff hits the fan, to talk your unicorn.