Friday, June 21, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Rhythm

Last June I woke up every morning, went to worship in the main building on campus, walked five minutes to another building, sat at my desk, and started editing the ESL textbook pages that were set in front of me. Everything in that office had a rhythm. The clack of keyboard keys. The jarring ring of office phones and the jangling songs of cell phones. The quiet Korean chatter between colleagues, punctuated with a burst of English here and there. The occasional impromptu meetings at the table in the corner where those in the meetings would try to discuss the issues our office faced in hushed conversations so as not to disrupt the rest of us still sitting at our desks working at our computers.

Even our physical activity had a rhythm. In the ten minutes just before lunch and again just before the end of our work day, Chilli, the only man in our office, started up the exercise song - a upbeat, high-energy marching-type song. At the starting notes, he stood and urged the rest of us to rise from our desk chairs and join him in a rhythm of stretching, and arm and leg exercises. The entire first week of working in the office I couldn't keep the grin off my face while I mimicked my coworkers' actions and fumbled through the series of exercises. Even months later my mouth formed a slight grin while I expertly followed the music through the routine.

The rhythm of office work is behind me now. Most of the time I'm glad to be free of the unyielding work hours, the frustrating rule of having to stay at the office for the full 40 hours a week even when I'd finished all the work my coworkers could find for me. But sometimes I miss it. Miss the hushed conversations. Miss the mix of Korean and English fluidly filling the office. Miss the camaraderie of having others around to work with, to go to for help when I had a question, to talk to in a moment of down time, and even to join in our office exercise routines. Sometimes, I miss the busy rhythm of office life. And in those times, I dig out my copy of the exercise song and play it loudly, reminding my arms and legs of the rhythm of my ESL textbook office in Seoul, South Korea.

Me with some of my coworkers ~ June 2012
Photo by Glenda Quiring

My musings on the prompt 'rhythm' for Five Minute Friday. Join in next week if you feel inspired!

Edit: My husband and I drove from Maine to Michigan this week for a wedding on Sunday. When we arrived in Berrien Springs on Friday evening, after the wedding rehearsal, I checked my e-mail, and to my surprise, found a new comment on this blog post from Lisa-Jo telling me that I was her Featured post on Five Minute Friday this week. I was so surprised and honoured to be chosen. Thank you so much, Lisa-Jo, for choosing me and for your kind and encouraging words! I love the FMF writing community!
My post is featured on the right sidebar of her blog


  1. Love this. The notes of a day and a community and how even sitting at a desk can be music if we're willing to hear it. Thanks for sharing. You're my featured FMF this week :)

    warm wishes

    1. Wow, how exciting! Thank you so much for your kind words and for choosing my post as your feature this week. I'm honoured!

  2. I like this. It's nice to look back on past work and be able to remember what made those experiences special and one-of-a-kind.