I was on the subway coming home earlier this week, and had a moment I'd like to share with you.
I'd had a really long and awful day, and was looking forward to coming home and crashing on the couch for the rest of the evening. The rush-hour crowd wasn't helping my nagging headache, as people pushed and crammed their way into the already over-packed subway cars. Everyone experiencing their own sense of urgency.
As usual I turned on my iPod for the long ride home. Listening to music allows me to escape from my surroundings, but it's also a pleasant (and sometimes not so pleasant) trigger for lovely memories that tend to take a backseat when I'm focused on present negatives.
Within minutes of turning the shuffle on my iPod I heard the familiar intro to Shakira's 2010 World Cup song, 'Waka Waka'... and within seconds, I was transported to a small sports pub in the heart of Seoul, Korea this past June.
One of my good friends from my year in Korea - C - was from South Africa. So when we realized the games would take place in her home country, we were determined to indulge in the opening ceremony festivities with the South African expat community in Seoul. Listening to the song on the subway ride in Toronto reminded me of this spectacular experience in Seoul.
I don't remember another time when I'd been in a room full of people who were just genuinely happy. It was such a colourful atmosphere -- the little sports pub in Seoul was filled with South African expats and their friends, and they were all in a mood to celebrate.
If love had a pulse... then it definitely existed in that small bar on opening night.
I remember dancing so much, without inhibitions and with so much gusto, it might as well have been a rain-dance of sorts. But that was the beauty of it, I suppose. I was surrounded by people who weren't judging my moves or the fact that I wasn't South African... they just wanted me to have as good a time as they were. And I did -- vuvuzelas and all.
I mean, there I was, moving to the beats of South Africa, with my friends from England, USA, and South Africa... in South Korea. I remember taking a moment during that experience and thinking about how badly I wanted to bottle up the feelings that surged through me that night. I was genuinely and blissfully happy.
And back in Toronto, as I rode the subway home while listening to the song over and over, the memories of that summer night came flooding back to me. And I couldn't help but smile. And it made me so happy to know that I'll always have such memories to get me through times that are difficult.
Do you have your own go-to experiences that are guaranteed to make you smile? What are they? I'd love to hear about them.
Check out FIFA, Football and Family for a backgrounder on my 2010 World Cup experience in Korea.
Image courtesy of Google Images