Prompt: Monday, January 13, 2014
Eleanor Roosevelt said: “A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.” Tell us about a time you felt your strength.

In 2009, I went on a personal leave from work. For three of five months, I lived in Japan and used it as a base to travel to other areas of Japan and other nearby countries.

A woman traveling alone can find herself in a lot of interesting situations, but it was the most empowering experience of my life. I learned so much about myself, and I grew so much as a person.

You find ways to cope. You find ways to solve problems in a more creative way. You find ways to rely on yourself and find your strength.  You find ways to trust and have faith.

South Korea was the hardest place that I visited because of the language barrier and the currency.  I had a survival Korean book which didn’t help, and although I do like Korean dramas, they didn’t help me pick up a lot of vital phrases I needed then. HaHa

I was unable to study the Korean currency prior to my trip. The internet connection where I had lived in Tokyo only worked part of the time. There were extra zeros in the Korean won.  When I tried to pay for my bus to the hotel with several bills, the cashier took one 10,000 won bill, and push the remaining bills toward me.  That was a cheap ride, and that lady was kind and honest!

The hardest situation I encountered during my solo trip (again also in South Korea) was when the bus dropped me off (on the way to the hotel).  Before we left, I tried to converse with the bus driver to confirm my stop.  Somehow, I think he went over a little.  For over an hour, I exchanged bills to coins from a nice lady at a store for the pay phone, made several calls to the hotel who couldn’t make out where I was, hailed cabs but would leave unable to help me once they learned I could not speak Korean… all while standing in the rain.

After trying to figure out my situation for over an hour, I stopped and prayed for help. Then within minutes, a cab pulled up in front of me releasing its passengers.  The cab driver knew a little bit of English he picked up from his daughter who was studying in America. He asked me to come into the cab and placed my luggage in the trunk.  I handed him my paperwork on the hotel, but the information was not in Korean character form, so he asked me to point to the hotel’s phone number.  I did and he called the hotel on his mobile and asked for directions.  He got me to my hotel.

I was very grateful for the help this man gave to me. He could have left me in the rain like the other cab drivers did, but he took the time to deal with a foreigner.

I was very grateful for the help after I prayed. I’ve gotten help before after I prayed, but I have been geared to be so independent and to be so self-sufficient that I forget that my life could be simpler if I just ask for help.  LOL

That experience solidified in my heart and mind that…
1. All my prayers are heard
2. I am never alone
3. I will always be alright, no matter what

I just have to remember to stop being stubborn about doing things alone and ask for help. 🙂