Day 1 // 365 Days of Gratitude

Today, it was again the simple and small that lifted my heart and spirit.

Work at the cafe was slow in the morning. We only had a few customers but that balanced out the busyness we had in the afternoon preparing and serving a private event. I felt my blood sugar go down around 2 o’clock. Apparently, the banana I just had wasn’t enough to keep me going. I had a lighter breakfast too. So I went next door to the 7-11 thinking I’d get some savory crackers or chips or something as a snack. I was pleasantly surprised to see hot food being sold. I’d forgotten some 7-11s in Beijing serve hot food too! Right as I asked for two baos (one 红枣窝头,one 素包子 with a cabbage, diced carrots and rice vermicelli filling and a thick wrapping made out of cornmeal, the same stuff that they make 窝头 out of), our cafe manager walked into the shop to get us some drinks and snacks and told me not to pay because it’d be on the cafe. We ended up getting more buns for our coworkers. Back in the kitchen, we all huddled around these prized microwaved 7-11 buns beaming with humble smiles. It felt really nice. A celebration of hard work. Such a lovely moment brought about so naturally. Although we exchanged few words, I felt good inside knowing the others felt some sort of way too. I marked that moment because it’s rare for me to celebrate, and in that moment, I chose to celebrate. I chose to celebrate because I want to (re)learn how to celebrate this precious, precious gift of life.

As I was making my way from the cafe to the Lomography store to pick up my film, I came across a man selling plants and pots from his electric tricycle 电动三轮车. Aha! This is the moment that I was meant to come across the pots I’d been wanting to buy for a few days now to help my two plants grow better. I didn’t go too out of my way, searching all over Beijing, because I felt like they’d come to me when the time was right. And here it was, when I least expected it. He told me he is usually there Mondays to Fridays when I asked if he’ll be back here in the future. I might get another plant, hehe. On Saturdays he goes to the neighboring 三里屯 area. I look forward to seeing him again.


After I got home, 何阿姨 ayi and I spent a good chunk of time replanting some of our plants into their new homes. My ayi went downstairs to collect FREE dirt and came back carrying it in a plastic bag. I loved it. I really enjoyed working with the soil–its damp softness gently grazing my skin with every handful I pulled out. It made me think back to my hopes of one day planting a garden, and one of my original ideas to go farming during this time off school. For now, I’m grateful for the reminder that connecting spiritually with the earth doesn’t have to only occur in the countryside, away from the city or people. I am reminded that nature’s spirit surrounds us wherever we go, in and urban environments too. It is always there. We just have to open our hearts to embrace it. I strive for simple and grounded because sometimes the distractions of modern/industrialized/technological society make it hard for me to be grateful and content with all I already have.

I’m choosing to celebrate life, with a dose gratitude each day for the next 364 days. It’s so easy to focus on the downs and forget the highs. I don’t want to forget the highs, especially not right now.

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Author: claireishuman

a young adult living between hong kong, beijing, london and boston

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