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My grandfather fought the good fight, and he left to be with Jesus earlier today. I wasn’t there- I arrived about an hour later, but my aunt told me that he took his last breath at 9:45 a.m.  He looked so peaceful as he lay there. Right now, I’m sure, he’s having a wonderful reunion with his family who went before him- his mother, his brothers, and sisters, who he had to leave in N. Korea. I hope he’s also met up with his father and my other grandfather. Stupid me; I went to class today and ended up crying a little in front of my students before I could stop myself. My aunt told me that he had a dream of me going to Korea to buy a hanbok. I wonder what this means… but if I ever do buy one, I want a watermelon colored one. I think the colors are young and fresh and beautiful. 할아버지… 사랑해요. 다음에 만나요…

Many years ago, in a land far away, a boy was born in a simple farming village. He was raised very simply, for this was a very poor village. At that time, this land was occupied by people from another land, called Japan. There was very little to eat as he grew, so he was undernourished and weak. Since he was not physically fit to work in the fields and be a farmer, it was decided that he would study in the seminary.  Years later he attended the seminary, even under threats of death from the Japanese. True to their word, they slaughtered many of his friends in the seminary. After witnessing the deaths of several friends, he, his wife, and his father decided to escape and did so; however, in the immediacy of it all, they were forced to leave his mother and younger siblings behind. Somehow, they crossed the border and escaped to South Korea with only the clothes on their backs.

This boy, now a young man, settled down in South Korea and raised three children with his wife. He became the pastor of a small village in South Korea. They managed to eke out a living by farming and pastoring. Although money was scarce, every single penny was scrimped and saved so their children would be educated. Several years later, his oldest son got married to a lovely lady and they had their first child, a little girl.

I was so blessed, so very blessed. My grandfather was born in poverty and barely escaped a war. He witnessed the deaths of several friends and barely escaped his own. His leaving his mother and siblings behind left an indelible scar. But I only knew of his love and kindness.  Years later, when he moved to the States with my grandmother, they moved to a place about 15 minutes away from our home. But I was so terrible about visiting them; I had forgotten their love and care, and considered only how inconvenient or boring it was for me to visit them. When I did visit, my grandparents were so glad; they’d show me the small garden they grew in their backyard and pack tomatoes, peppers, and lettuce for me to take back home.  Although they had 3 children and 7 grandchildren, they have never forgotten a single birthday. Every year, his children and grandchildren have received an envelope with some money and a small written birthday blessing.My grandfather is a really 훌룡하신 분.

Now that cancer has spread through my grandfather’s body, all I can do is watch helplessly and hold his hand as he sleeps. This is a cruel disease; it doesn’t rob you of your hunger but it takes away the ability to take food in. As a result, my once-healthy grandfather is now a frail man of skin and bones. I wish I could give him a gift – I wish he could see me get married, something he’d always told me he wanted to see before he passed. But I’m afraid I won’t be able to give him this gift in time. 죄송해요, 할아버지…

I love this new blog I just discovered 10 minutes ago… what a great idea!

http://bloggiveaways.blogspot.com/

Who doesn’t like winning things…? 🙂

I received my jcrew and anthropologie catalogues a few days ago, and have been busy lusting after certain items ever since. I also discovered my new favorite blog, http://bluemossgirls.blogspot.com, which introduced me to the beauty that is the Chie Mihara line of shoes. I’m not normally a shoe lover; I usually stick with what’s comfortable until they’re no longer wearable. But THESE SHOES… too beautiful to resist, yet a bit too pricey to buy just yet. So I’m going to reward myself… I’ve been meaning to lose 15-20 pounds for the last, oh, 10 years. Now’s a good time as any, right?I’ll give myself until the end of May to lose those unsightly pounds. Snacking has been my biggest downfall these past couple of years… but I’ve got to do this for myself. And for those shoes.

Breakfast: lots of strawberries and cataloupe (both a great source of antioxidants)

Lunch: 1 piece of toast with strawberry jam and some peanut butter

Dinner: Korean food

Snack: apple and some cheese crackers

Exercise: 20 minutes elliptical, 30 minutes treadmill

I’m too lazy to cook on a consistent basis, but when I do cook, I have high expectations. It’d better be good. I made corn chowder today to drop off at my grandfather’s tomorrow, and I used a recipe from Paula Deen, the Butter Dame.  I halved the amount of butter, substituted some half and half for skim milk, and added some cayenne pepper, and it was so delish! I felt especially happy that my parents thought it was delish too.

I’m discovering more and more that cooking, for me, is an expression of love. Not that I do it very often (I happen to be very lazy, unfortunately), but when I do cook for people, it’s my way of telling them I heart them.  Maybe I got this from my mom- she’s an awesome hostess and has hosted countless dinners for church members and relatives over the years. I’m nowhere near the selfless person she is, but I like to think, maybe, I’m getting there. Very sloooowly.

On an entirely different note, places I’d like to live someday:

1. Korea (really, are you surprised?)

2. London (so posh)

3. Japan (so I can buy cute odds and ends)

4. Paris (so I can eat baguettes everyday)

5. NYC (so I can walk to Central Park and eat Lombardi’s whenever)

BUT wherever I go, there’d better be some good Mexican food nearby.

1. What if I had gone back to Korea earlier this year to teach? Would I love living there?

2. What if I’d decided to go into teaching while in undergrad? Would I have a f/t position by now?

3. What if I’d been less picky (less retarded) about some of my dates and gone out on a second date? Would we still be dating?

4. What if I’d decided to go to grad school for English Lit. Would I be working as a journalist for National Geographic?

What if, what if, what if.  NO MORE.

When I was younger, and less prone to the muffin-topping that plagues me so these days, my favorite Christmas gifts were those big boxes of See’s chocolates.  The heavier the box, the brighter my eyes. Lucky for me, my parents didn’t particularly care for those gifts- leaving more for me (well, and my sibs too, I suppose, but for years, I was the strongest, so…).   I loved those chewy, nougat or caramel and nut-filled chocolates the best. The next best were those filled with buttercreams- vanilla, chocolate, or coffee. The last, and the ones to be avoided at all cost, were those ghastly buttercreams filled with some concoction of fruit. These were rejected by both my siblings and me, and were unceremoniously tossed, along with the box, after days of gorging on chocolates and adding to the dentist’s bill.  Am I going to write an entire post about chocolates? Patience, dear reader! (You are out there, aren’t you…?)

I’ve gone on a couple of blind dates, set up by well-meaning friends, friends of friends, or parents’ friends. All this time, I’ve been looking for my perfect man- to carry on the chocolate analogy, let’s say, rich, strong, but sweet, slightly complex on the inside, but smooth and attractive on the outside. I’ve been bitter, though, because it seemed to me as though each date had turned out to be the nefarious fruit buttercream- unpleasant through and through. And it’s not as though I’ve been set up with jerks; for the most part, they were well-mannered and nice. But I’ve complained; oh yes, I’ve complained. “He was too fleshy,” I cried to my poor sister. “Ugh, gross; I couldn’t get past his cul-de-sac” (referring to another date’s hair, not his place of residence).  Maybe I never outgrew that picky little girl who refused to give those poor raspberry-buttercream chocolates a chance.  So, I’m at a crossroads. Do I keep hoping for those chocolate caramels and nougats- or do I finally give those raspberry buttercreams a chance?

I don’t know what this blog will be about. I guess I got bitten by the writing bug? Anyways, I’m starting a new experiment that I’ve started today- eating healthier. I love eating- and I’ve been eating lots of really bad food. I guess this year, I want to start treating my mind and body well. Ok, so long.

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