Friday, May 30, 2008

Grandmother I

(notes on granny-description of her childhood)

My mother was in the courtyard when I saw them together again. That man that keeps speaking to my mother in whispers for no good reason. I run over and wedge myself between the two, and I say to him, "we rent out the facilities, not the courtyard". I was less than 10 years old, and I had the gumption to talk to a man who was my elder, in such a way Confucius would have turned over in his grave. But I didn't care, my father passed away of diseases he contracted from his patients when I was just a young girl of 8, I couldn't let my mother be prowled by new men trying to replace my father.

I think I heard this story more than I could stand. My grandmother had Alzheimer's in her later years, but she was able to remember the most finest detail in a blanket of memories she had stored in her soul since the 1920's. Her life in Pyong Yang seemed charmed in those days, until her father passed away of unknown illnesses that was passed on by the patients in his clinic. By my grandmother's stories of him and how she asks for him in her dreams, he was a kind and gentle man. Pyong Yang's medical care was scarce in those times and my great grandfather offered his clinic to the town. There were far more patients than hands that healed them, but by the way he passed way, he wasn't afraid to touch them with his own skin. She, my grandmother's mother wasn't the doting mother, cooing with lovely words for her only daughter. She herself was busy, owning a clinic inherited by her late husband didn't suit her. She was not aggressive or proactive, she was the perfect Confucius wife devoted only to her womanly duties in her womanly place. It's really a mystery how she's produced such a daughter that's not of this era and unfit as a woman in those days of Korea. She was outspoken, free spirited, insolent, defiant and talented.

My grandmother was not like many women in the Confucius empire of submissive servitude and the humility of putting the men and elders before her. She lacked all that, she was a contemporary soul. My grandmother sang, danced in public and played the piano. She was one of the few women who attended a university in the 1920 Pyong Yang, but she left her studies unfinished because she was to be married to my grandfather. He was the son of a wealthy business man who had educated all of his 7 sons and 1 daughter. He had acres and acres of land and in some of the acres, he had an apple farm. This family was too elite and lofty for my grandmother as a match, she didn't have a father, she didn't have money and she was only partly educated. She didn't have the genteel air of a heiress or royalty. She was in fact, a slap in the face to Confucius himself, for my grandfather was the 76th generation of his ancestry. Not only was she an insult to their great ancestor, she secretly insulted her future husband, for she desired the 4th brother, who was handsome and charming. My grandfather was not as dashing, even though he was tall, he was quiet and had eyes only for his work. He studied biology and eventually became renown in his work for evolution, but later, this very thing drove my grandmother out of the house, and this very same thing embraced my grandfather in refuge from my granmother's nagging for the attention she felt she deserved. For all she lacked, my grandmother was charming and she was beautiful as a young girl of 20. She carried herself as if she were royalty and as if she were just as genteel as the next aristocrat daughter.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Game (pg-13)

I've been going to a lot of baseball games this year because Hans bought us a 9 game package. So last night, I was watching our Cubby's go against the Dodgers and it happened again! Every phrase and every cheer heard in the confines of beautiful Wrigley field, I hear "sex". Not that boys were talking crudely about it, all the while drinking beer and watching the game like they would, but there are very close analogies to sex that I can't help but to make the comparison. And it's not just baseball, it's football, it's basketball, it's even polo (especially water polo)!

To remind my audience that I'm not trying to write a sex and the city column, but I think this is why men love sports so much. They're not driven by sports, food and sex, but it's just sex! and food! especially sexy food! (OK, I'm going too far.)

To state one of the more overtly sexual and the most obvious aspect in this particular game are the bases. The bases indicated the level of intimacy that the men are able to achieve. First base is holding hands, Second kissing, third is going below the belt or under the the clothes and finally, home, which indicates the whole dirty deed. You can steal bases in baseball, but it's very tricky, because once you get caught stealing and you're tagged, you're out! Same goes for a girl, if you're going to "steal a base" you have to be pretty tricky (and darn good at it!) to go to the next base without the girls' full consent. It is possible for a player to steal home plate, but this requires a man to be cavalier and aggressive as the ball will almost certainly arrive at home plate before the runner. Although in the game of love, a gentleman should never steal home base. Ever! Home is only deserved when you are a stellar player. You're up to bat with a girl and you hit home with her; you're attentive, supportive, adoring and chivalrous and some times, you have to wait for your 6th pitch to get it.

Let's consider the On Deck Circle, the circle in which the next batter waits to bat. Now, there are many a men out there up on the on deck circle. The guy who is waiting for the girl to break up with her current boyfriend so he can get a swing at " it". And more often than not, the guy waiting in the on deck circle is the friend, the safe one the girl considers her best friend. Either that's the case or it's the sleazy best friend of the guy who values the game over his friendship with his friend. When a man is in the batter's box, there's a lot of pressure, you're stats are up on screen for all to review, batting average, RBI, and how many times you struck out in the past. All things are considered once you are finally up to bat.

Other sports are not quite as sophisticated as the game of baseball with pitchers, batters, and bases. It's just get-the-ball-in-the-hole. When I watch football, I see all the players as sperm, and the goals as the egg, and each team needs to get through all the obstacles of the opposing team to get to the egg. There's a lot of players, but only one gets in, the fastest, the strongest. Basketball has a similar analogy, many men, one ball, one basket. Although, in basketball, the terms used in this game are commonly used amongst the men for competition for a girl. Let's consider the phrase "jump ball". This is when a group of friends or guys who are not particularly fond of each other, agree among themselves, that a girl is up for grabs. This girl isn't reserved for one particular person to pursue, but she's fair game for anyone to win over in the contest. Another one would be the term "dribble dribble pass." This particular term is used when a girl is passed from one boy to another after he's had his fill with her.

I don't think my theories are new, but I've just been noticing the parallel clearly as of late. It's no wonder why dating is described as the game and men use sports jargon to describe the elements of it; scoring, defense, offense, bases, touchdown, home run, jump ball, dribbling, passing, goalies and my very own soccer player husband's favorite? "Just because there's a goalie, doesn't mean you can't score!"

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Empty Nest

I can't picture myself pregnant anymore. I can't see it. I think there was a time when I could taste it, I can feel it, I can hear my children calling out to me "mommy!" I've wanted a child since I was a teenager, which may have been a father's nightmare to know that their teenage girl is dreaming to be a mom at the age of 15, but I did. I even pretended that a little girl running and calling out to her mom is actually running toward me and calling me mommy. Many little girls grow up dreaming and scheming of their marriage to their real live Ken doll, but not me, I wanted a little skipper, particularly a little girl.

My girlfriends, my family, my husband, all smile and exclaim, "I'm so excited for you! You'll be a mom soon!" when they hear the news of my clomid prescription, but I don't really see it that way. Not only am I not ovulating the way I should, I'm not producing any progesterone to support the gestation of my child, but still, I'm taking this ovulation stimulant and it's not doing any good. I feel like my doctor prescribed it as a mental placebo, to feel like we're "doing all we can". (I have a great doctor, he's a dream and I know he really does want us pregnant). And No, I don't think I'm being emotional or just down on myself, but what good can come from medication that only fixes one part but doesn't produce an end goal? Like trying to change the tire on a beat up car when the engine doesn't run. Maybe I'll just say it's the Clomid talking and I don't really know what I'm talking about, but I can't help but to feel like some science project that no body knows the outcome of.

I have nightmares about adopting children. We decided that we want to pursue adoption come August, but I'm having second thoughts. I even wrote about how Biblical adoption is and how we inherit the Kingdom of God, only because God adopted the gentiles to be his sons; but I can't see past my fears. I'm scared that I would be bitter, that I won't love this child like my own, that one day I'll just say "I can't take care of this child, she's not even mine." I'm afraid that I'll resent this child because of the circumstances that surrounds her, that her new mommy couldn't have children and she had to resort to adopting a child. That makes me cringe, not only because hurts her, but because it hurts me. Yes, all adoptions begins with a loss, the loss of the child I never had, the loss of a mother that didn't want her baby, the loss of a baby that a mother could not keep. It's beyond that day that mending begins and it's a long and arduous road. I'm just not that confident I can knit those ties as tightly as it should be.
I wrote this once, and it seems like it was another person in another world that wrote it:
My sister in law put this blog up on her face book and it's about a woman who carried a child full term, and the child was not developing well. She was most likely to have passed right away, but she carried her anyway...she blogs about her journey.
I really appreciated how she was so honest with her story and so willing to share with even strangers ! I dont know what it's like to lose a child, but I think I can totally relate with her in feeling the pain of empty arms, where a baby should be... to stare at a ultrasound monitor only to see two fibroids where a baby would be...And I've learned that "holding it all together" doesn't mean that you're doing the holier thing, to be "patient" in wanting a baby. It's just cloaked in martyrdom and silence, partly because it's too difficult to face it everyday. Then those days come when all of it spills out, when the wails surprises even me! (like, where did all that come from? I thought I was ok). I want to be rooted in the word, cry to him in desperation, ask God for a child and to know that he's the one to give it.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Life's Lemons

My eyes are sour.
It's the Lemons I've eatten.
Some of those Lemons belong to my friends...some are mine...

They're welling up in my eyes as tears.
Sometimes it helps to cry...
But not today... curiously enough, not all lemons can be made into lemonade....
Not even into those little slices you put into your water for flavor.

These lemons are employed just for it's sour.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Opportunity Cost....

Opportunity cost is the cost or sacrifice, incurred by choosing one option over all other options that may be equally desirable. Opportunity cost is the cost of pursuing one choice and forsaking another. Every action has an opportunity cost, not only in investing your life savings in one bank rather than another, or buying a pair of Guccis over Jimmy Choos, but in life choices. I chose Hans, sacrificing and forsaking the sea of men I potentially could have chosen as the One (and thank God he knows me better than myself, because he's a great husband). One can look back on a million choices we've made in the past, big or small, and rethink those selections with questions like "what if I went to school right away?" "What if I took that job rather than this one."

I think there's a difference between regret and rethinking our choices, but not a definite one. I can regret marrying Hans if he did turn out to be a selfish husband who abused me and my imagined children, but rethinking my life, with the variable of 2 years spent in Korea instead of coming home to Hans could have changed everything; as in, I don't know for sure if I would have ended up with Hans. Marriage to my husband is not the rethinking I do...although, to be honest it has crossed my mind (but no regrets). It's my not a job, but a profession, something that I'm good at, something God has called me to, like a commission of some sort. What if I did stay at Seoul University and finished my 2 year term? 2 years seems so long to me back then, away from home, away from Hans and being in a foreign country without my friends. It just seemed so unbearable. What if I took my chances of getting pregnant and still went back to graduate school after I was married, instead of waiting around for this kid to come around for the last six years.

All these questions sound more like regrets than rethinking my choices, but now that we are aggressively pursuing pregnancy and possibly adoption, I have to think at this moment, do I want to choose my children and be a Biblical example of a stay at home mom, or do I take my chances and pursue my career, because it seems, it is my last chance. Which "cost" is worth more to me? The cost of my family, which may or may not come to fruition? or my big dreams? Can't I just have everything?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Crushed under it....

PD says that with this job, you'll either grow and rise or get crushed under it. I won't go into the details of why this job would crush someone under it's stomping foot, but it does. I think I'd like to think that I am an adapter, quick to change with the times and understand a culture almost instantly. I know people and I give them the benefit of the doubt, even at first instinct I'm frustrated and prone to judge. But no matter what I do, I get this eerie feeling that, I'm getting crushed under it, losing myself...I can't help but to feel like a mannequin head, a place holder for a real live person.

I want be rooted in the Truth, the Word, and I have clung to it like it's my last grip to reality before I float away as an ethereal ghost, but I lose my handle on it, I slip away. I hold fast to friends and ministry partners, but I can't engage, I have nothing to give. I'm trying...I'm reading books on my spare time, I read the Bible, I take classes, I draw, I try to be creative, I write; but at the end of all the gorging to be full, I'm still whithering away. Like I'm losing time, talent, myself.

I can't really say I know what I'd do if it were not this, and it's daunting to think about starting all over out there in the real world. I've often said, "I'm not cut out for the working force." Not that I've tried, but I think I was just afraid of failing in front of the whole wide world, at least here in the safety of the church, I'm not judged solely for my work least...I'd like to think not. Is it possible for someone to be perfectly healthy and fulfilled as a person as long as you're rooted and secured in Jesus Christ? Even without the profession you were called to? I don't think so. Then, it should be righteous for a man to do very little with this life and be in meditation with the Lord all day long. We were meant to work, we are created to work. Even before original sin, Adam was to take care of the garden and the animals within it. To be productive and happy in the vocation that God's called you to, I think that is what's righteous.

How can I hear you Lord? How can I know your will?

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others"

by Marianne Williamson
from A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles, Harper Collins, 1992. From Chapter 7, Section 3

Friday, May 16, 2008

Outside looking in...

Some times I see people in public and they have what I want. Like last night, I went to W hotel and thought, "wow...these people live such glamorous lives!" or "Will I ever get there? To have nice cars, dress up nice and stay in fancy hotels over weekends, just because I can?"

After we finished with the rehearsal at the W, we went to Fogo De Chao. Again, I looked around and thought, "how nice to just have a meal on a Thursday night, at a place like this..."

Then, waking this morning, the veil of night lifted from my mind, I can see clearly that I DO live that life....I was in a good car, in a nice fancy dress, having my doors held open and my carriage brought to me by men scurrying in haste. I will be staying at the W overnight and I did eat at Fogo De Chao on a random Thursday night. Yes, it was paid for by my very generous friends and we were there to rehearse for their wedding, but people looking in, are none the wiser.

Do I want to live life in glamor because people are watching? I think so...if I lived in North Korea, I don't think I'd require a seven course meal clad in designer frocks. Sometimes, I don't even notice what kind of car I'm in (unless it's a mess!). I appreciate gourmet food and je t'aime fashion because I consider it art; but I think that covetous longing is only heightened by people watching me, or even me watching other people and what they have, or how they live. A friend of mine says whenever she comes home with a piece of clothing she's been eyeballing, her husband says to her, "Is it everything you dreamed it would be?" And usually, it's not, it doesn't live up to all the hopes and dreams you put into that dress, or life style.

Thinking about this further...I look at my pastor or other missionaries living glamorous "holy" lives and I think I want that too, knowing that it's uber hard living a life of ministry. But I think the difference here is that it's completely fulfilling when you're living for the Truth.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

It's a new day! And a new blog...

I've been approached by a few people (namely my husband and a few others in passing) urging me to blog professionally. They say my blogs are funny and that I'm a good writer. "It's too much pressure!" I tell them...and even as I'm writing this exchange on the world wide web, I feel I'm already setting myself up for failure. I'm paralyzed by my perfection...don't misunderstand, I'm not perfect, it's the image of a "perfectionista" I'm trying to uphold! I wish I was more carefree...

I'm definitely not a writer, and I'm not even intentional with the things I write...I'm a feeler, I just write down things I feel...happy! sad...disgust! confusion?? And who says these entries would be interesting and funny to strangers? Maybe people think my Xanga entries are funny because they're my friends. I think I will be more free to speak my mind when I'm here. For some reason, writing on xanga is like gathering everyone you know in one room to make some sort of announcement....maybe it's because you've gathered everyone you know in a virtual room to make an announcement. I may share things that are so personal, it's more than you bargained for...I think I'll hold off on telling my friends about this blog for now.