i should wake him up now

Stan’s taking his post-call nap. I asked, “When do you want me to wake you up?” “Three, please. Wake me up gently with kisses,” he smiled. “No. No, I’m going to shake you awake. Like this.” I grabbed his shoulders and started shaking him. He laughed and fell asleep.

We had everybody’s favorite meal of the day right after he got off work — brunch. With another awesome couple. That makes it sound like we’re awesome, too. With another couple — who is awesome. I got myself out of bed to pick the huz up at work. Thank goodness I changed out of me light pink long johns (that was a typo, but I’m not changing it due to St. Patty’s Day) and put on my underthings because we went straight to brunch instead of coming home first, like I thought we would. Dodged a bullet.

Sometimes I think people in our building think Stan doesn’t know how to drive because I’m always dropping him off and picking him up in me light pink long johns. We made this arrangement so I can have the car because we’re from Georgia and drive everywhere. And plus, I get bus sick. I hope they think that I’m like a boss wife. Or maybe they think I’ve let myself go because I’m always in me light pink long johns.

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.

t. rex

I had my first writing piece legitimately published a few months ago. It’s a chapter in one of my professor’s books, Women in Higher Education. It was exciting to receive the hardback in the mail, and it only provoked dreams of what it would be like to receive my own book in the mail, if that were ever to happen. I’ll admit that the genre of work makes me snigger. It lies somewhere in the realm of feminism, something I wouldn’t openly associate with. (The cover of the book makes me chuckle, too. My sister said it looks like a book on fertility. Why are research books so uninspiring?)

When people think of feminism, they think of things like the Chicago Diamond building symbolizing a va-jay-jay among all the phallic architecture surrounding it. I read that that was a myth, by the way. The architect was quoted saying that she never meant for it to be known as lady parts. I digress. And I think the Diamond building is a digression from true feminism, whatever that may be. You know what it isn’t, even if you don’t know what it is.

I see London, I see France…I see a vaj. I love Chicago.

I’m not really sure why I wouldn’t associate with feminism. Perhaps it’s the embarrassing mess of what it has become. Or maybe I’m of the housewife feminist brand, the feminist that believes a woman can and should do whatever makes them happy. And be empowered at the same time. And embrace silent fortitude, demureness, ladylike modesty. And look bold and beautiful however they want. And then not care how they look at all. Confusing messages. I don’t know. In any case, I’ve been thinking about these things a lot — what it means to be a woman, what it means to be a godly woman, what it means to be a godly woman who is the companion and helper of her husband, what it means to be devoted to your First Love and how that translates into all sorts of relationships. The latter of which I find to be really hard for women because of a fundamental yearning to be loved and desired.

Society has taught women to build tall structures that reach the heavens and iconically shout “I AM WOMAN! I will not be vulnerable. I will not be weak or be weakened.” Our generation’s culture has taught us to keep our act tight. It’s tough navigating through womanhood because I find myself comparing my womanliness and wifeliness to people around me. I think third-wave feminism, a strain that emphasizes empowerment and embraces female-ness, makes me feel as if I need to be in control and have my sh*t together.

Like with cooking. Our culture has taught me that cooking is fun and cute when you’re posting pictures of the labor-intensive meal you just made on a Friday night. Snap a pic with the Camera+ App, in Hipster mode, on a clean counter, and tagged with my husband. Shubbups. On Monday evening after a long, long day at work, though, no one told me that I’d just want to eat a piece of cheese and pick at crackers out of a box. No one told me I’d be giving my husband a look of guilt/pity/anger/apology/frustration, and then convince him that the both of us should be dieting anyway. He’ll offer to cook or get takeout, and while that sounds good, something inside will nag at me just a little. I want to live up to this idea of the perfect wife and woman. But I’ll also want to throw my hands in the air and just go “uggggghhhhhhhh,” and then finish my paper, respond to emails, talk to friends, eat my cheese and crackers, paint my nails, google The Muppets on YouTube, and go to bed. And I don’t want to feel bad about it.

Somewhere in there, I’ve started to emphasize empowerment and not putting the other person, no matter who it may be, higher than myself. I’ve started to focus on personal satisfaction and not on serving for the joy of serving. And while these traits and qualities are not mutually exclusive — empowerment in being able to put someone else higher than yourself, personal satisfaction in serving — they are messy when it becomes all about me.

Women carry the unique position of being helpers, having the intrinsic nature of wanting to serve and support. I think it’s just been stifled. That’s the kind of feminism I hope to explore this year. Glamour took all the honor out of humility. Bring it back in style.

***

And now a look into my everyday: I started this fitness class that has been pretty awesome. A) I know it’s working because my appetite and metabolism are like those of a hyena. B) I’m walking on my toes with my knees slightly bent like T.Rex because my calves are killing me. I feel silly. But when I’m out and about, I somehow attain enough adrenaline to counteract the pain and stand upright. Score.

hi

So, we finally meet again. Just a few updates and tell-all anecdotes.

  • I’m working now! Hurray. I got a job working at a nephrology clinic as an administrative assistant. The pay is great and the hours…are okay. It takes a lot out of me because I have to wake up pretty early, and they’re a pretty busy clinic. Plus, I never really know what time I can leave because there is always work to do. C’est la vie. The good thing about waking up early is that Stan and I can leave the house together. It’s one of my favorite parts of the day (after I rub the sleep out of my eyes, drag my feet to the bathroom, and curse in front of the mirror). He pushes the snooze button once or twice, finally gets up to shut off the alarm, hops in the shower while I’m still drooling on my pillow, and then either squeezes the toes on my temperature-controlling-foot (the one I keep outside of the blanket to keep me cool) or kisses me until I wake up. Sometimes both. And sometimes I shower, and sometimes I don’t. Woohoo!
  • Fresh coffee in a tin travel mug. Wallet with Chase card so I can spend Stan’s money. Phone that never wipes clean of my face grease. Ten thousand keys on one keychain for every door in Chicago. My shrinking, pink brain. Yup. A few times a week, we carpool to work, which is another favorite part of my day. This is one of the streets we take:

Look famils? Dunanananana Batman! (Photo credit goes to Michael Perry from Chicageaux.)

  • I love how the sun peeks through the tracks in the morning. I love the look of the industrial metal beams and columns overlapping colorful brownstone buildings, set against a velvety white and pink sky. I love when the L Train thunders above me. I secretly race it in my head. I’m always faster. I’m like Batman. I’m beginning to love this city.
  • We’ve joined a community of believers here, and it couldn’t feel more divine. We had Micah 6 freshly Post-It-ed on our wall when we decided to look up the church’s website and vision statement — which is Micah 6. Stan and I looked at each other in quiet understanding. We couldn’t feel more at home with this silly family. Equip us to do justice in kindness and humility. Praise the Jesus.

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

  • Stan’s picking my ear as I type this. I have to go now.

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.

update

Since we’ve gotten back from Bangladesh, things have been a little crazy here. I wish I had the words to share more of the stories from the trip, but it seems so odd to talk about the journey as if it were a simple memory. I think anyone who has travelled knows what I’m talking about. The people are still in my thoughts. I miss the grueling hikes, the wandering goats, the sticky hands, the gummy smiles. Maybe the stories will come later.

So since we’ve been back, I’ve shifted into high gear as far as wedding planning goes. Just details here and there. Odds and ends to tie up. It hasn’t been too difficult or stressful thanks to our wonderful wedding planner and friend! She is a wonderful wife, awesome mom, super sweet woman and a character all by herself. I love God’s providence in setting up this relationship. Cyber shout out to Aestoria. 🙂

And in between wedding planning, I’ve been attempting to work on my thesis. It hasn’t progressed as much as I thought it would, but I’d like to think I thrive under pressure. Procrastination is challenging and taxing on the body, but the relief is so much sweeter when you actually get it done! I really do think my best work comes out at the last minute. Planning in any circumstance is always good, but creativeness comes when I’m not analyzing something to death. Sometimes, I want to change the entire research topic or throw my laptop on the ground. But I shouldn’t. Laptops are expensive and my sanity is important.

Stan and I have also been attending pre-marital counseling. It’s kind of really fun. We get asked questions like, “What are your personalities like?” and “Do you foresee any problems with the similarities/differences in your personalities?” We can get really specific because the more specific you are, the better. So it’s like you’re able to nitpick because you have to lol. You get to do it in a safe environment, so it turns out to be funny and not hurtful. We’re having fun preparing for this new life together.

And now we know that our new life together will be in Chicago for the next four years!! I’m excited and happy and anxious and scared and nervous and thrilled and baffled. But I wouldn’t want to feel this way with anyone other than Stanimal.

my face feels like a sausage

  • I threw away all of my old journals. On a whim. I hope no one digs through our trash to find…my trash. It’s pretty embarrassing.
  • I think it was C.S. Lewis who once said that writing in journals is completely narcissistic and self-satisfying. And I think Amy Adams’s character in Julie and Julia said that writing in blogs is self-centered. These thoughts are both true, in a way. Of course, not everyone simply writes about themselves, but I know I sure do. This conflicts me deeply. I love/hate writing/blogging.
  • It seems to me that I always find the desire to write when I’m medicated. I just took a nighttime Nyquil, and I’m starting to feel loopy. My face is heavy like a fat sausage, and my fingers are typing by themselves. Each finger has a brain. I hope C.S. Lewis would be proud of me. Full semi-circle.
  • I took the Nyquil because I have a head cold that started yesterday. I wouldn’t really care, but we’re leaving for Bangladesh tomorrow. (Refer to filled to be emptied.)
  • We’re leaving for Bangladesh tomorrow!
  • If you read this, please say a prayer for our team.

The Lord reigns,
let the nations tremble;
he sits enthroned between the cherubim,
let the earth shake.
Great is the Lord in Zion;
he is exalted over all the nations.
Let them praise your great and awesome name —
he is holy.

Psalm 99

i’m on the crazy track

I have this “Registry Essentials” checklist from Real Simple magazine. It’s a long list. Some big things (knife sets, bed sets, cookware), some small (salt and pepper shaker, soap dish), some questionable (ice cream maker, umbrella stand, suitcases, 2-4 decorative bowls).

At first I very cautiously started selecting items, going line by line off the checklist. Then I became merely conservative, imagining the typical household items. And then, 2 hours of Internet surfing later, the heat started getting to me. 8-12 place settings? Sure! 1 serving spoon, 1 serving fork, 1 pie server? Okay! 1 set of serving utensils, 1 set of serving dishes, 1 set of covered serving dishes? Why not! The madness set in.

This was from my friend Jackie's bridal shower. This is what i want to do.

Online shopping is like a disease. I started to stray from the list and added whatever I wanted. Eyes bloodshot from looking at the screen too long, hair pulled up in a crazy bun, cheeks pink, butt numb. If it wasn’t for my leg falling asleep, I wouldn’t have made it out of my registry shopper’s trance to finally breathe.

No, no, no…this can’t do. I looked at my never-ending list and died a little inside. So then I started to delete items.

I’ll only need 1 complete cookware set.

Am I really going to bake that much? Nah.

Will I have guests over a lot? I can always get that later.

I’ll take off the 3 other bed sets. I have some at home.

And then things got crazy again.

He looks worried.

An ice cream scooper? I’ll just use my bear hands. (You read that right. If I’m desperate enough to use my hands as ice cream scoopers, I suppose I’ll be fat. And then I’ll have bear hands.)

A winter blanket? Body heat. *wiggling eyebrows*

Vacuum? I’ll have plenty of packaging tape from the move.

Can opener? I’ll use my teeth.

Decoration? I’ll use my broken shards of teeth to make a mosaic.

Wanting is a never-ending thing! I suppose it’s just what is at the end of your want that makes the difference.

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity.”

-Jeremiah 29:13-14

Have a good day!