The Rituals of Others

school bus ritual

How often do we think about the small tasks in our daily life? Each day may feel like we’re on autopilot unless we take a step back and try to see our lives from a different perspective. Those things that we do each day without thinking are little rituals, though we may not usually see them as such.

Because I’m between work projects right now, I’m able to catch up on some things at home and help out my mom a bit more during the week. My schedule isn’t the norm, so I’m seeing different people at different times and in different places. It’s been exactly one year since moving to this apartment building. How time flies! But I’m still noticing new things about it.

Last week, maybe around 2pm, I exited the elevator and was on my way out of the building. I noticed several women just sitting or standing in the lobby area. It seemed odd. I wondered why they were all there. A few were speaking to each other, but others were alone and on their phones or silent. When I drove my car out of the garage, I noticed a school bus pull up to the building and all the kids got out. Then I saw some of the women walking down the stairs to meet the kids.

Oh, this is a mom thing, I suddenly realized! This must be an everyday ritual getting the kids from the school bus. Since I’m not a mom, this is not a ritual that I’m familiar with.

It also must be a generational thing. When I was a kid my mom didn’t meet me at the bus. When I was in elementary school and junior high, I walked to school and back, either alone or with a friend. From what I recall, no parents were waiting for us outside. Kids whose parents worked didn’t even have parents waiting for them inside! When I was older and we lived further away from the school, I did take a bus, but I still walked from the bus by myself. No parent waiting!

Soon after this realization, when I was driving to my mom’s house, I noticed a women sitting cross-legged on the grass in front of a house. Another woman further down the street was outside her house milling about on the lawn. I noticed similar scenes over and over at most of the houses up and down the streets. All these moms were waiting for their kids to be dropped off. It’s a big thing!

It was so interesting realizing that what’s such a big ritual for all these families is not a thing for me. And for other non-moms like me. There are certain parts of our daily lives, these rituals that we take for granted that are just not a part of other people’s lives. I noticed this again while watching a couple of new to me YouTubers.

Depending on where you live, earthquakes can be a big part of daily life, so you take precautions and it’s part of your mindset. Hayao is a new young father and husband living in Japan who does it all – cooking, baking, building, planting and more. When he was improving some shelves that he built, he added an extra support in the event of a big earthquake. I realized that if you live in Japan, you definitely would think about earthquakes. According to an earthquake tracking website that I found, Japan has an earthquake almost everyday. Sometimes several a day.

Another YouTuber named Mamiko is a Japanese woman living in Paris with her husband and two cats. They enjoy meeting new people, going to markets and all sorts of places, eating, cooking, and generally living the good life. Their vlog is called GOROGORO KITCHEN. Her husband, Tsu-san, films the videos and they have the most wonderful rapport and humor. She is fluent in Japanese, French and English. Seeing her quickly switch between all of them is amazing! Needless to say, I’m quite a fan.

Watching a video today, they were visiting a shop where bottles were placed high up on shelves. She noted that putting things up like that signals living in an earthquake-free country. Because if there were an earthquake, things could fall on your head!

Living in New England, my daily habits and rituals have never taken earthquakes into account! The more you know. ⭐⭐⭐

Putting the Phone Down & Talking to Strangers

phone down on table

How often do you put your phone down? Stop scrolling or even turn it all the way off?

No judgement here. I’m usually holding my phone and maybe scrolling through Twitter or Instagram. It might be on my lap or on a table near me. As I write this, it’s just to the left of my keyboard. Not that I’m usually expecting a bunch of calls or texts.

Well, actually I take that back. I’m in the process of helping my mom sell her house and there are two showings today. It seems that whenever I accidentally leave my phone in another room, I miss a call.

But usually, it wouldn’t hurt to put the phone down or away. Lots of people take social media breaks or at least claim to. I always find it amusing when people announce on social media that they’re taking a break, then check-in during their breaks. Is it to create drama and suspense? Maybe they’re truly addicted to social media? I don’t get it.

Anyway, like so many days in this season of my life, yesterday, I brought my mom to a doctor’s appointment. As we were sitting down, a woman in the waiting area said, “Hello ladies!” with smiling eyes above her mask and a very friendly voice. She seemed so happy to see us! I think we said, “Hi,” back to her and I hope our eyes were smiling too.

My mom mentioned to me that her phone was acting strangely and when she was reading a news story it would just go away. I said that maybe it was just refreshing the feed. Then my mom went in to see the doctor while I remained in the waiting area.

The woman with smiling eyes was on her phone talking with someone, then she went up to the front desk to answer some questions. In very fluent English, I overheard her say that her first language was Portuguese. When she went back to talking on her phone, I did notice that it sounded like she was speaking in Portuguese. I was scrolling on my phone the whole time.

Then she got off her phone and mentioned to me that she had overheard me and my mom talking. She said that my mom might need to restart her phone. I had forgotten that maybe there could be a glitch needing that. I thanked her. Then another woman came in and sat down. She said to me that my earring was stuck behind my mask so I fixed it. I thanked her.

Then we all started chatting about how people need to tell people if something is wrong like that. I mentioned how I had a friend that we would always tell each other if we had lipstick on our teeth. Then I mentioned that I don’t really wear lipstick anymore because of masks. My red lipstick used to be part of my signature look. We all lamented my pandemic loss of lipstick.

Then smiling eyes mentioned that she saw a woman whose skirt was all up in the back once and she told her. We agreed that we need people to tell us when something is wrong even if it’s an embarrassing situation. It’s worse not knowing when something is wrong.

Then smiling eyes said that her kids are always on their phones. Even when they are at parties. Kids will text each other, but not talk. We all said how that’s horrible, but I admitted to always being on my phone too. Every few minutes I’d go back to looking at my phone, then we’d start chatting again and I’d put it down.

Smiling eyes mentioned that it was her first time going to this doctor and she was nervous. She has diabetes and needs to get it under control, but hates needles and doesn’t test like she should. “When it’s my time, it’s my time,” she said.

She reminded me of my cousin who used to always say that too. And he meant it. He lived a full and very good life. But he died a needlessly painful and early death last year. It’s still hard to believe that he’s gone. But nobody can change someone else’s life philosophy. They will do what they want to do and can’t be forced to do otherwise.

Smiling eyes looked like she might be in her 40s. She had some lines around her eyes. I thought about mentioning my cousin and what happened to him. But I didn’t. I just listened. The doctor called her into the office and I wished her good luck. Later in the day, I remembered her and restarted my mom’s phone. Then I silently wished her well.

My Korean Drama Playlist

Korean Drama Playlist

This Korean Drama playlist has changed over time and is a constant work in progress. Songs are always being added and a few were deleted too. I started watching Korean dramas when the pandemic started and I’m hooked!

Many dramas that I watched had really good music that I wanted to hear again, so I started researching the songs and created a playlist on Amazon Music. I’m not sure which song was first and my favorite songs don’t necessarily correlate with my favorite dramas. But some do!

All the titles are in English, but most of the songs are sung in Korean. The last song on the list is from a Taiwanese drama that is in Mandarin. A few of the songs are in English, so I can understand the words. The others I don’t understand the words, but can feel the emotion. Which is one of the reasons why I loved the songs so much while watching the dramas.

Like the Bruja Full Moon Magic playlist, I mostly listen to this one while I’m driving. I have other playlists, but these two are much shorter. This one is definitely a different mood! Romantic and dramatic, like a Korean Drama. Below is a list of the songs, the artists and the dramas featuring the songs. If you’re looking to watch a few, I saw all of them on Netflix and this list is a good start!

+ + +

1. So Hard For Me by Jeebanoff (Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol)

2. Sing My Song by Gu Keunbyul (Revolutionary Love)

3. Shine Your Star by 03ohn (Mr. Sunshine)

4. I’m Here by Yang Da II (Memories of the Alhambra)

5. Memories of the Alhambra by George (Memories of the Alhambra)

6. La La La by Rachael Yamagata (Something in the Rain)

7. Something in the Rain by Rachael Yamagata (Something in the Rain)

8. We Could Still Be Happy by Rachael Yamagata (One Spring Night)

9. But It’s Destiny by 10cm (Crash Landing on You)

10. Sweetest Thing by Seventeen (Chocolate)

11. Tree by Car, the Garden (Chocolate)

12. Is You by Ailee (Memories of the Alhambra)

13. Just Like A Dream by Ben (Another Miss Oh)

14. What Is Love by Park Yun Ha & Yu Seung Woo (Another Miss Oh)

15. The Song You Picked Saves Me by A-Lin [feat. J.Sheon] (Memory Love)

16. Quando, Quando, Quando by Moon (Our Blues)