progress

Okay, for real. Time to step up to the plate.

I began the application process for this gig at Groupon, just for kicks. They are looking for full-time staff writers to write those quirky three-paragraph blurbs about what kind of deal you’re getting and what the company giving the deal is all about. I started working on a required sample piece for a fake sea kayaking deal — a lot harder than I thought it would be. Groupon is a bit particular about their house writing style. And they’re even more particular about the “humor” and tone in the writing. All I had down was:

“Would you rather live in a pineapple under the sea? Or paddle in a kayak on top of the sea? Good, me too.”

But then I felt foolish. I’d rather live in a pineapple under the sea. And Groupon doesn’t like references to pop culture. Nor do they like writers using first person.

I'm rusty.

I’m nixing the Groupon job idea for now because I applied for something else. Crossing fingers!!!

What I really need to do is start back up on my thesis. Taking a hiatus from thesis work and jumping back in cold turkey feels like a big, burly man screaming at you in Russian. You’re kinda paralyzed because you’re afraid and you want to know what’s going on, but you also want to run away.

So, Stan’s been training at the hospital this week for orientation, and that means I’m left to my own devices. I think I’m starting to feel guilty for being at home. I’ve attemped to be productive over the past two days. I felt like I needed to be able to say “I did this and this and that” when Stan came home. Why is that? Do stay-at-home-wives/moms feel like that? I cleaned, did two loads of laundry, stared at my thesis, and did some more job searching. And then I watched Kick Ass on Netflix, plucked my eyebrows, gave myself a facial, and organized my closet. Heh heh. What? Once, I attempted to walk to the grocery store, but took 5 steps out our front door, looked up at the sky and decided it was going to rain soon. So, I turned my butt back around and texted the hubband to pick up some beef and chicken. (Sidenote: I watched “Food, Inc.” and regret it so bad. Barf!) I think women have this desire to feel useful and needed. I think I have a desire to feel useful and needed.

Everyday has been getting better, though. I feel more comfortable walking around this city and even getting lost in it, on occasion. It’s definitely different than living in the ‘burbs of the South. I walked around our neighborhood yesterday. We’re not in the city, but close enough to it. Logan Square is a little more residential with the two-story brickstone and graystone apartment-lined streets, apartment and condo buildings, coffee joints galore, little shops everywhere, and a bajillion of restaurants to choose from. We’re close to Wicker Park, which is super artsy. Everything feels artsy here. I feel very uncool. I want five more tattoodles.

Oh, I just noticed this hahah:

fluffy puff

That stick with the white puffy thing on top is Stan’s beloved ear curette picker-thingy. In my blue Babu pencil holder. This is what happens when you’re married and live together, I guess.

Anyway, like any city, there is a lot of need here. Another reason why I desperately want to find a job. Get out and meet people. Explore. It’s difficult to find my response to the need I see and the cups that jingle for spare change. Kinda shameful to admit. It doesn’t feel right getting off the elevator, walking through the paint and a/c-smelling hallway, and sitting at home with the curtains drawn. I’m not sure I could find any way of excusing the way I live as a believer. Jesus, set me apart from this world. Still thinking about that one.

8:45am. Time to start the day.

rolls and roles

My phone alarm went off at 6:30, 6:35, then finally 6:40am before I finally shut it off. Today is the first day one out of the two of us had to be somewhere for a certain amount of time, and it wasn’t me. I got up to make cinnamon rolls (woah, I had “roles” typed out for a while…must exercise brain today) and coffee for me and Stan. I dreamt about cinnamon rolls last night.

the popping noise the can makes scares me

We ate our cinnamon rolls and sipped our coffee over the counter. He got up to leave, grabbed his keys, and gave me a kiss on his way out the door. I felt like a freaking wife. And then I sat on the couch and contemplated whether or not I should watch Heroes by myself, and then watch the same episodes with him later pretending like I had never seen them before. I think my memory would give me away, though, and I’d refer to a future scene thinking we already saw it. Dilemma. I didn’t watch. I just ate one Oreo.

i thought it looked really cozy this morning

I asked Stan why it’s so surprising to see me this way when I feel normal. Maybe an instinct kicks in for people when they know they have a new role to be in. I don’t know how to play this new role at all, but I know that it’s what I want to do and where I want to be. A helper. I’m on Galatians 5 right now. Fortunately, Pastor Peter preached on part of this passage yesterday (holy tongue twister!). And very fotunately, I am reminded that I can’t be a helper without walking and being led by the Spirit.

Our cabinet space is limited because the amount of things is greater than the amount of storage we have, and we’ve run out of a space for a linen/towel closet. Stan, like a typcial guy, suggested putting the towels in the TV console because we’re not using it for anything. I was adamant about finding another solution for the sake of normality. A huge part of me desires perfection in the flesh — from the way our new home is set up, to the way I look, to the way I am as a wife, to the way our relationship looks like on the outside. I really wonder sometimes where this fear of imperfection comes from. Recognizing this as an issue, though, I think I just had to put the towels in the TV console. And that’s where they are. But now I kind of like it. Stupid point.

Something I struggle with is “controlling my tongue” [tonguefingers] on this blog. I could easily talk about the good things and paint the image of a perfect relationship. I could vaguely mention in a status update how we ate crepes at an outdoor farmers’ market after church yesterday. Doesn’t that say a lot in so little? (Sidenote: I think they psychology of Twitter and Facebook status updates is absolutely fascinating.) And maybe that would be okay to say, but probably not if that’s the only kind of thing I say. Pastor Peter made the point that we can try to be perfect on our own. I can wake up and do my morning devotion, make cinnamon rolls and coffee, tidy up the kitchen and do everything right for the day. But when something does go wrong, where will my hope and joy be? When I think of this, I feel deeply thankful knowing that God has given us a Helper. I love that God says if we walk by the Spirit, we will be perfected through Christ. Our hope and our joy will be unending. It’s really tiring and scary trying to live up to the idea of perfection I have in my head. Tiring because I’m never satisfied, and scary because I never know when I’ll fail. I hope I never use the cross as a reason to not try my best. But there is a huge sense of relief and utter gratitude knowing I don’t have to be perfect at all for God to love me and desire me. It feels like I can be vulnerable and transparent with my sins, my life, and it’ll be okay.

Stan came home early! I’m going to pretend like I was busy tidying up the kitchen.

P.S. I love our video chats —

cheese!

 

rainy day

It’s cold and rainy here in the city. We woke up this morning drowsy from our NyQuil-/Benadryl-induced sleep. We’re both getting over fevers/colds. When you’re married, I guess you get sick together. Stan is in the office listening to something that sounds like Broadway music, and I’m in the living room click-clacking away on my Mac. The gray sky is trying to peek into the room behind our closed curtains. I feel lazy.

For two nights in a row, we’ve tried to have a Heroes marathon. If we’re going to be couch potatoes any time in our lives, it’d be now. Now or never. First episode plays for the night — we’re feeling good, getting all into it. Second episode — still good. I’m asking a ton of questions and making comments from the peanut gallery. Stan, a good man, answers all of them and lets me talk through the show. Third episode — I’m hungry. Need Klondike bar. That keeps us going. Fourth episode — leg is cramping. Neck hurts. We’re shifting in our seats every 10 minutes. Physically uncomfortable, but must keep going. Fifth episode — eyes feel heavy, but the episode is so interesting! Sixth episode — “Do you want to watch another?” Stan asks. Silence. I can’t decide, and I’m halfway asleep. He goes to the bathroom to wash up, and we’re in bed by 9pm. Okay, just kidding. It’s really more like 11pm. That’s still pretty early to me. I used to stay up and fiddle around in my room until 2am. I don’t even remember what I had to do. Read different blogs, catch up on Facebook, clean out my e-mail, finish a book, pluck my eyebrows. When you’re married, I guess 11pm becomes the new 2am.

We wake up relatively early, though, for not having any plans for the day. We’re taking full advantage of this now before he starts work. We wake up and goof around in bed (that’s not code for anything haha). I love pillow talk. Then we’ll get up and do our thing. I’m getting pretty particular about coffee. When you’re married, I guess you take on each others habits and fascinations. Stan is a coffee snob. He usually makes our morning cup with his new Chemex toy, but I told him I would do it today. I sensed a bit of hesitation in his eyes hahah. But he let me do it, and I’ll bet it’s the best cup of coffee he’s ever had in his life! I can say these things.

Yesterday was a fun day with friends. Mimi (hi!!!) came to visit from Atlanta, and Stan and I got to hang out with her and Andrew (hello!!). I am so glad I got to see someone from home, and someone who always puts a smile on my face. Andrew, her manfriend and our new bff, lives in Chicago, so he took us to a Korean taco place for some good eats. We also had some delicious cupcakes, came back to our place and watched Tangled. One of the best Disney movies ever. I want a stubby little pet chameleon so bad. I’m going to ask Stan for one for my Thanksgiving present.

I need to get a hair cut. Anyone know a good salon in Chicago for an Asian girl? Nothing fancy. Something affordable. But not like Great Clips. I’m going to try Twisted Scissors, which is right down the street. It got a lot of great reviews on Yelp, but I have to wait until Monday because they’re booked solid for the weekend! That’s too popular for me. I have a chip on my shoulder about popular people and places.

I’m going to make Spam fried rice for lunch.

wedding, honeymoon, chicago

A lot has happened. I don’t have much to say about our wedding day, only that the entire weekend was better than anything I could have imagined or planned for it to be. All I really want to say is that I am filled with so much gratitude and love for our family and friends. It really was one of the happiest days of my life, and I’m so glad we got to share it with so many wonderful people. And I’m so excited to live out the rest of my days with the man I love.

Right after the wedding day and night (*wiggling eyebrows*), we left for Aruba. Talk about paradise. Water so crystal clear you could see your toes wiggling in the sand and the occasional fish that would swim up to you. I squealed in terror at the first sight of a friendly fish swimming circles near us. I have a phobia of underwater creatures even though I love the ocean. I squealed and jumped into Stan’s arms so he could carry me to shore. Stan thought I squealed because I saw a shark or something, and he pushed me in his frantic effort to get us to safety. I thought he pushed me so he could get towards shore faster. He said he pushed me so I could get in front of him and out of harms way. We’re still investigating the situation.

Palm trees, cactuses, white sand, lizards and iguanas, great service and friendly people, romantic sunset dinners, sailboats, steel drums, warm breezes, beautiful hotel and ocean view, sipping on frutiy cocktails in a tire tube on the calm waters. It was all so fantastic. Stan even took me on a Jeep Wrangler island tour! He rented a jeep for the entire week, and we took it out one day to go on a private excursion. He loves looking at maps and finding his own way. I assume he was a cartographer in a past life. We came across uncharted coves, old ruins (where a movie was being filmed, so I think I’m famous in Aruba), a beautiful church on a cliff above water, shaved ice trucks with friendly old people, prayer rocks far beyond what our eyes could see, and a natural bridge where we had our PB&J lunch. Oh, and we also saw a huge dead eel with maggots coming out of its mouth. Our time there was well spent — so well spent that it seemed like a dream. Coming home was surreal because it felt like time was suspended when we left for the island, but it really wasn’t. We came back and packed up the last bits of our belongings for our big move to Chicago.

And here we are! We spent last week unpacking and settling in. We took a break from this only to attend a friend’s beautiful wedding in New Jersey (congrats Ben and Jessica!!). I thought that was a legitimate excuse to not do anything, but now that we’re into our second week here — reality is starting to hit. I’m really glad Stan and I have these next two weeks or so to enjoy our new surroundings. All of these changes are finally catching up to me. I don’t know what state I’d be in if the man had to go straight to work after our honeymoon. I have to admit that being a wife is fun right now. I’ve only had one mini-freak-out since we’ve been here. That involved crying over spilled oil, making a salty kimchi jjigae with unfermented kimchi, and admitting to Stan my fears of being a bad wife. The mini-freak-out ended with a glass of Moscato, a Klondike bar, and kisses. It was a good vent/talk. Maybe I’ll write more about that later.

I know it won’t always be like this. I know it as much as I can know it without ever having experienced it. The good may be better, the worst may be worse. Or the good may be worse and the worst better. And I don’t think my fears can end with one glass of wine, ice cream, and cuddling with my hubband. So for now, I just want to remember Galatians 5:2 —

Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you.

I think no matter what routine we get into, or system we try to follow, no matter what idea of life we have or how we wish to be, no matter what plans we dream of — they will never do without Christ. Not just thoughts of Christ, but life in him and faith in him. I’m going through a lot of motions right now because I don’t seem to know what I’m doing in all these new situations and surroundings, but I do feel comforted and hopeful knowing that this is where God wants us and that he is leading us. I’m glad Stan reminds me of this. He’s a good husband and great navigator. Above all, I feel an unmistakable sense of hope and joy in all of this newness and being with the mister. Something I don’t know how to explain, but I’m pretty sure it’s like ending a night with a glass of Moscato, a Klondike bar, and kisses. Times infinity.

Will update more later. Just wanted to let you all know we’re alive. Haha.