Vegan's Chronicles + [random]

Hugs on New Year's Day

Hello! I feel like I have so many half-written posts in my drafts folder, that this blog is getting a little backed up... . but now that the mad holiday season is over, I'll try to get things moving steadily again.

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Sunrise over Seoul. This is the view from my window. What a great way to greet a brand new day and year. I'm sooo grateful.

So far, 2012 has been really great. I probably should've done a 'year in review' post like so many other bloggers have done, but I ran out of time and if I start looking back on the past, I might never return to the present. I also don't have any official resolutions or a 101 list to post this year... My plan is just to keep things simple and stay open to God and life. A lot of awesome things went down in 2011, but I also have to admit that it was a tough year for me, emotionally and spiritually. I try not to share too much of my personal struggles on this blog because I'm sure most of you don't care to read that stuff, and I'd like this blog to remain a positive, uplifting resource to vegans in Korea. And on top of that, I'm just not very good at opening myself up and being vulnerable in that way, so yea... in some ways, it was perhaps the toughest year I've had in a long time, but it was also a year of immense personal growth, and I learned so much about myself. And I'm so grateful because I feel that it ended on such a hopeful note, and I feel a lot of peace in my heart for 2012. Phew~ :)

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Going along with the topic of staying open and being vulnerable, on Jan 1st, I did something completely new and unlike me. I somehow ended up in Insadong with Chris and his friend who was organizing a Free Hugs campaign in Insadong road. I'm sure many of you have watched the famous original Free Hugs clip, and perhaps have even seen a campaign in your own city. It's a simple idea, but kind of profoundly moving.

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At first, I was really skeptical and self-conscious about putting myself out there on the street and making myself vulnerable in that way. I told Chris I would just take photos and watch from the side, but somehow, I ended up with one of the posters in my hand and just went with it... .. and contrary to my fears, I didn't die of humiliation or rejection. Infact, to my surprise, people actually came up to give and get hugs! Ajushis, ajumas, tourists, kids, expats... . So many times, I've thought of Koreans as being cold and not very affectionate, but I saw a different side of Koreans and an openness which was really quite beautiful.

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It's amazing how something as simple as a hug between strangers, and just saying "happy new year" can bring a smile to one's face and just spread a little warmth and love.

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A super nice ajusshi on the street was taking photos of tourists and giving them printed copies for free, and he took a few pics of us!

In the end, I was glad that I participated. Sometimes I need a little push to get out of my own self-centered little world and open up my heart (and arms) and try something new. A new experience for a new year.

Well, to end this post, I just want to say a quick thank you to everyone for reading along in 2011, for all your comments, emails, and for hanging out with me on Alien's Day Out! I'm sending everyone virtual hugs across the internet, and I'm super excited for all the beautiful people, food, and sights I'll experience in 2012. 새해 복 많이 받으세요^^!