Thursday, October 10, 2013

Thankful Thursday: 10/10/13

[Thankful Thursday is a weekly segment that began 1/10/13 - read why here.  I invite you to join me in practicing gratitude!]

Yesterday I wrote about the Korean alphabet: Hangul.  I mentioned that every symbol (well, most) has a single sound, making it easier to learn.  Just for fun, let's contrast this with the English language.  Look at these word pairs/groups and say them aloud.  Notice how the words are pronounced:

cork / work

moth / mother

dead / bead

blood / food / good

Although many of the words in each group only differ by their first letter (a consonant), the vowel sounds within each group are not the same.  Same letters, different sounds.  So this week I am thankful that English happens to be my native language.  It would be extremely difficult to learn and memorize the spelling and pronunciation of each and every English word, had I needed to learn English as a second language!

But more importantly, being a native English speaker is the reason why I'm currently employed in South Korea, living in a great apartment whose rent I do not pay.  Being a native English speaker is what let me return to Madrid for a second year after I graduated college.  Being a native English speaker has filled my life with open doors to travel through in the future.

I recall a few times in the past when this topic has come up in conversation with foreigners at hostels.  "You're so lucky," they would tell me.  I could see a hint of jealousy in their eyes, though.  And a part of me would feel some guilt; these great people can't travel and easily find employment as I can, simply because they have a different mother tongue.  They might have even studied English for years and years to have their current level/fluency, but without being a native speaker your options are limited.  So why am I the one with all of these opportunities?  What exactly did I do to get all of these open doors?  I was born and raised in an English-speaking city.  That's something I had zero control over, so there's no need to feel guilty.

We are all dealt our cards.  Every person on this earth has a different background and unique experiences from which they form passions and skills.  It's a matter of finding that enthusiasm and making the best of your situation to better the world in some way, shape, or form.

So, rather than feeling any guilt about my situation, I'm going to soak in the other "g" word: gratitude.

"You have to accept whatever comes and the only important thing is that you meet it with the best you have to give." 

-Eleanor Roosevelt
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