But the soup I made this week kinda sucked. Well, “soup” would be a compliment, as it was more of a baby food type-mush than the kind autumnal day dreams are made of. Kitchen mishaps—they happen!
While we’re being perfectly real and honest here, I figured now’s a good a time as any to share my feelings. WIth social media it’s easy to create the image you want, and usually I like to draw mine up as healthy and clean as can be—Instagram a refreshingly juicy juice here, a hearty vegan sweet-potato chipotle chili there. Here, from Korea, my feed is sparse—there really haven’t been a lot of health highlights.
Hey, look. It’s not the end of the world. And I must stress this: I have breakfast every day, a free meal at lunch if I so choose, enough pocket change to buy whatever I feel at dinner. I’m by no means starving. And I have choices, I’ve found kale at the grocery store, even a rare avocado or two. I am very lucky. The last thing that I want is this to come off as a melodroamatic, “poor-me, I’m-traveling-the-world-and-have-to-eat-some-white-carbs-and-will die-so-LOOK-AT-ME” monologue.
But by golly, I am frustrated—frustrated that after completing Mission Impossible to find a salad, it always comes served underneath a generous schlop of mayo, that brown rice or bread is a weird “health-food” item (god forbid that “health” food should be the norm), that I basically have to sell off my firstborn to get a few raw veggies in a meal. That, barring learning Korean (which it’s looking less and less like I will do), I can’t ask what’s in my food. That my kitchen is smaller than my closet and a venue of frustration instead of my place of solace and calm.That I have to stop reading food blogs because they mostly just make me drool over things I can’t buy here (or have to wait a month to get from iHerb). And goshdarnit, I could go for a good yoga class.
On vacation, on road trips, for a few meals a week out with friends, I’ve never been really bothered to go against my better knowledge—I’m not above eating at Subway, having something deep-fried, or eating an ice-cream cone at McDonalds (lord knows I’m not above eating any ice cream, really). But we are just past two months into a year-long contract—this is not just a vacation!
I feel content when I look back on the last few years of my life and see the changes I’ve made to my diet and lifestyle—a bag of five-cent candy or cup of gelato is no longer an acceptable dinner, sugar-free and diabetes-soaked drinks don’t make the cut, ever, veggies are a big and delicious and beautiful part of my life, so much so that I want to base my career around this way of living. I’ve learned how to take care of myself, and I’m proud of these changes. I’ve been on the right track, I know absolutely and for certain, and I will continue to do so when I return to Canada. Maybe I’m just spoiled, for having lived in Toronto. Though can I really be blamed for wanting to take care of myself? Sometimes, Korea so far just feels like a few steps back.