Monday, 17 December 2012

the season of giving

{{Quote by Theodore Roosevelt//Source}}

I remember it was Christmas 2008, before the tornado of backpacks and passport stamps and adventure came and carried me away from London for what seems like will be good.
 I was living in a flatshare in Spitalfields, East London, an area gloriously frozen in time.
My local pub the "Ten Bells" is infamous for being the bar that Jack the Ripper's victims drank in, street lamps light cobble stoned alleyways and dignified Georgian architectures crumble decadently. 

Petticoat Lane and Brick Lane markets, born in the 17th century, were my cold and foggy Sunday morning haunts. It's the place where the Indian sailors who jumped ship in the 19th Century introduced some of the first curry houses to London.
irresistibly attracts eccentrics, artists, hipsters, musicians, Rastafarians,  Bangladeshis, C-list celebrities and vintage-ware sellers like summer attracts fireflies.
Also, homeless people.
The homeless are another fixture of London as permanent as the Houses of Parliament.
Rough sleepers, drifters and beggars were ubiquitous in my area and that Christmas in 2008 I decided I wanted to help.
On Christmas day myself and a friend went to my local shelter and helped cook and serve Christmas dinner to over  a hundred local homeless.
It was a great opportunity to interact with these people who I would usually just walk straight past on my way to the Underground in the morning or even cross the street to avoid when walking home in the dark.
We met some colorful characters, old, young, some who wanted to talk and share, some who silently took their food and ate alone, some who seemed affected by our presence and expressed gratitude and others who didn't. I think it's the ones who didn't that I was there for in the end. I feel like they were the ones who needed it the most.
I didn't change the world, I served hot meals and maybe cheered a handful of people up before I went  home to my family and gifts and a table full of Christmas food and they went back out on to the streets.
That's the thing with charity, you always walk away with a feeling of un-finished business, like there's still so much more you could have done. But the act of helping, of leaving a smile and a belly full of food on someone less fortunate than yourself... the act is surely worth it, no matter how small.
I have read so many wonderfully selfless and inspiring posts lately about sharing joy and random acts of kindness  and they have inspired me to forfeit my Christmas vacation which I probably would have spent entirely indulging myself and my own projects/crafting/shopping/movie watching and see what there is out here in Korea that I can get involved with and help.

They say you should do charity silently or the charity is you but the only reason I am posting about this is to give myself the push to get off my butt and do it.
I feel like by publishing this on my blog I am further duty bound to keep this promise to myself and I will keep you posted on my endeavors when my one week vacation starts on December 25th.

Whether it's a small act of kindness, volunteer work or campaigning I will find a small way to give something back every day of my vacation.
It is after all the season of giving ^^


  1. I know what you mean about writing things on your blog to make you do them. Patchwork Cactus is my little contract with the word too. It's lovely that you are doing charity at this time of the year, it's lovely that your sharing your experiences too. Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. I love the way you've put that~ "my little contract with the word"~ so eloquently said and true!

      Thanks for your encouragement!