when i take my glasses off everything’s blurry

My eyes are playing tricks on me.

Word: applause
Read: applesauce

Word: editorial
Read: orbital

Title: Inside of a Dog
Read: Inside of a Dead Dog

Feeling sleepy. Had a rousing conversation with Stan late last night. Only…he didn’t know it.

Stan: (muttering) I can’t believe Superman’s dog died.
Me: Superman’s dog died?
Stan: Mm, Superman’s dog died.
Me: Superman?
Stan: Superman.

Shoulda taken the conversation further. I’m not very chatty at 3 a.m. Gonna write down some questions for future sleep-talk sessions.

aerial view

Every night before I drift off to sleep, I have all these ideas and thoughts about what I want to do the next day. I’ll make an exquisite and healthy breakfast smoothie, make this DIY craft to decorate the living room walls, cut my bangs like this, invite people over for homemade mojitos, take a photo from an aerial view of my shoes and pants while I’m walking to my local pie shop. Possibly tipsy from homemade mojitos.

What really happens? I slumber to the bathroom when I wake up, sleuth back into bed for another hour, skip breakfast, walk from the bathroom, bedroom, office, and living room 37 times, aimlessly, then stand in between the bathroom and bedroom and think, There was something I was going to do today…

This article, among everything that was said, got me thinking about how much, and how quickly, we desire things to have meaning. We’re trying to “inject the present moment with sentimentality,” as Wampole puts it. The present moment — all the posts, pins, and pictures — may, in fact, be very sentimental. But never as sentimental as an aged memory you share at the dinner table. Never as sentimental and meaningful as being present and then letting time take over.

Yesterday, after 27+ years of labor, my parents were able to/had to let the restaurant go. And with barely any business these last few years, scores of customers came to have their last meals and say goodbye to my parents and the business. One faithful patron cried, so my mom cried, and then my sister cried haha. Out of happiness and shared sentiment. My dad said those moments throughout the week made all of these years worth it. Day in and day out, sometimes with only a handful of customers to pass the time, stressing about rent and income, my dad cooking and hosting, and my mom serving — time hadn’t been wasted.

I think about how their lives, their presence, impacted the community they lived in, and it blows me away. People shed tears knowing my parents were shutting down. We want our lives to be meaningful — that’s a good thing. But can we just let meaning be what it is and take its course without forcing ourselves on it? Sometimes I feel a slight pang of anxiety when I have nothing to share, or seemingly nothing to share. No recent pictures or check-ins. Am I going to be obsolete and irrelevant? I think that’s when I start dreaming of the things I’ll do the next day. Things that can be appraised by a vast audience to acknowledge my life and give it instant, obvious meaning. I think my parents, the older generation, know something about being present. Being in God’s presence. Believing in who God created them to be, believing that alone has sweet meaning, and believing it for others. Maybe every task won’t have instant significance, and every move won’t foreshadow revelation. It didn’t for my mom while she walked around an empty restaurant, listless from the lack of customers. But that doesn’t mean purpose and meaning aren’t there. Maybe it’s just a matter of time and being faithful.

summertime na na na na na na

It’s a gorgeous day outside, and I’m inside sitting shiva under the natural sunlight of our energy-saving bulbs. They hurt my eyes. I’m hunched over and squinting. And…mourning the loss of my youth because I sound like an 80-year-old Jewish grandma.

Every time I get motivated to go out and do something, I linger around at home for too long and lose my mojo. I like to play it safe and comfortable. Or maybe safety and comfort are playing me! Damn those fools.

I think this happens when you let yourself get used to a way of living. All the unimaginable colors of heaven are subdued into imaginable ones, controlled ones. I’ve been thinking lately…that it’s hard for me to do anything that will rock the boat. I don’t want any unnecessary stressors until previously had stressors disappear. But I’m pretty sure this will never happen because Asians like to stress about not having stress. Always have to feel productive. And I don’t think it should happen anyway. I just want my attitude to change. I want my spirit to change.

Moving here was tougher than I thought it would be, and I kind of gave myself that justification as to why I didn’t want to rock the boat. The boat was friggin’ full of suitcases, furniture, appliances, old photos and old memories. It’s been a year now, though, and I think I need to stop lingering around trying to hold everything steady. Everything will come and go. I feel a new season coming. I feel the waves gently rocking.

Maybe I should chug one of Stan’s Goose Island Summertime Ales. Liquid courage. J/k. It actually just tastes delicious. It tastes like going to the lake-beach and you’re starving and you’re waiting for someone to give you the next grilled hot dog and someone gives it to you topped with ketchup, mustard, relish, and crumbled potato chips.

Okay, I’m going outside now.

One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they set out, and as they sailed he fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water and were in danger. And they went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm. He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?”

phil 2

This past year has deepened and strengthened the meaning of three words in ways I couldn’t have imagined.

I love you.

Here’s to all the rest.

You are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you.

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.