My mom sent me videos of our dog in Korea. He is 15 years old. He is getting older and older every time I see him in pictures and videos. This time, I could see the difference significantly.
He started walking slowly and unevenly. Even though I was smiling at the video, my heart was aching. What made me sadder was my excitement about having a new dog. My old dog and my new dog were overlapped and blurred with tears in my eyes.
I didn’t know much about dogs. I was young and naive when I adopted him, along with my first dog who died eight years ago. After I learned how to take care of a dog, I was already too far away. I couldn’t even be there for my first dog when she died. Perhaps the eagerness of wanting to be a better companion for my new dog makes me sentimental. I sometimes accidentally call my new dog with my old dog’s name and that always chokes me up.
I haven’t seen him in over a year now. I’m not sure when I’ll see him but I hope I can have more time to walk with him.
In August 2018, there was a reunion of separated family members from North and South Korea. The news was hard to bare.
One elderly man told his story in an interview that he had to escape from the house when the war started. He left his younger siblings in the North and came to the South. He was nine years old at that time. He was crying and said he should’ve lived or died together with his siblings and he will ask for forgiveness from them.
His story made me think about my grandmother. During the war, she was hiding in a shed with her children. A bomb hit the shed and one of my uncles lost his leg. My grandmother had to run, leaving him behind to save other children. My aunt told me that every time my grandmother told the story, she said “I couldn’t even put dirt on his leg…I couldn’t even put dirt on his leg…”. She was probably so happy and proud to watch her children grow, but never forgot about her lost son.
I had to question myself if I can blame them for what they did. My grandmother and the elderly man must have a big knot in their hearts that is never going to be untied. Certainly, I cannot blame their suffering.
I wish someday soon, all the separated families on the Korean peninsula, can visit each other freely. If we can see our loved ones whenever we want, we are blessed.
Happy New Year everyone.
It is still a bit chilly, but spring is definitely around the corner. When I rode my bicycle to go grocery shopping last week, I saw plum tree flowers starting to bloom here and there around my neighborhood. They look very similar to Sakura but they bloom in late winter through early spring. Sometimes they bloom through cold snow. Because of this, plum blossoms in Korea represent a scholar’s fidelity. I am always sorry when the winter ends. But I love watching baby leaves are coming out from naked trees and all the colorful flowers start to bloom in spring. Summer comes, and it is my least favorite season. If I do not experience the summer heat, I probably do not appreciate winter’s coldness fully. So I am very much looking forward to next winter.
I do not have a sweet tooth or craving for chocolate usually. But sometimes, I crave this high Cacao content chocolate. I love the thickness and bitterness of it. I gave this to my husband and he did not know what was coming. He had a hard time getting rid of the taste in his mouth. It was so funny to watch him suffering from something that I enjoy. XD
Do you like dark chocolate or you are all about the sweetness?
I saw these two parrots in Central Park Zoo a couple of years ago. It was winter, and everything was pale with cold air. These two parrots stood out with their colorful feathers. They also look so friendly with each other. It is always hard to represent nature’s color. It is so bright and strong. I think because it is so beautiful, people always wanted to express it in art for a long time.
Project: 10 Year
It was Christmas day in 2009. I was visiting my husband in Japan. We woke up and went straight downstairs to open the presents. We prepared gifts for each other and we also got gifts from my parent’s in-laws.
After we opened all the presents, I took the ribbons from the boxes and put them on my head. I made a very cliché joke that I was the biggest gift for him. Even though I didn’t take a shower yet and my hair was a mess, he loved it and took pictures of me.
Later that night we went to our favorite Chinese restaurant near the base. I think we also watched Harry Potter late at night.
Christmas in Japan, around Tokyo, is almost never a white Christmas. I love snow so it is a bit of a downside about living here. But I remember I had a warm and happy Christmas with him in 2009.
One morning in Paris, I got an email from my dad. ‘The last pictures of Ho-e (호이), my girl dog’s name.’ It was the title of the email. There were pictures of her. She was laying on her side motionless. I froze for a while. I did not know what to do and how to feel. I cried all day. I could not go to the school that day. She was my first dog and she was the first one who taught me how to say goodbye.
I made these drawings 7 years ago.
I’m so sorry I couldn’t be with you at your last moment… I hope you were happy for 12 years as our family… I wish you will be born again as my daughter… I hope you never suffer pain and be happy. ”
“I miss you my baby.
Are you resting in peace?
Visit me in my dream often…
Love you my Ho-e…”
This is my most recent drawing of her. I miss her so much.
It is available as a print from here: shop
There are several hiking courses on Mt. Takao. It was our second time climbing the mountain and we chose a different route than the first time. We didn’t have any information on this small mountain restaurant so it was a very pleasant surprise.
This restaurant had many delicious foods. We didn’t eat anything but I know because the smell of curry was great.
We didn’t want to eat but we had to have this Japanese traditional soda ラムネ (ramune).
Before we got married, when my husband was stationed in Japan as an air force serviceman, we saw this drink pretty often compared to today. It usually is drunken in the summer so it is easier to find then. They usually have good flavors like any other sweet sodas, but if you encounter the curry one, avoid it. I got it on sale from my local store. When we tasted it, we knew why they were on sale.
Here is my drawing of the ラムネ(ramune) we had at the mountain restaurant.
There were two cats chilling around the restaurant. Even though they were on a mountain, they looked like they have been feed good.
I’m more of a dog person but I don’t deny that cats are so cute!
I thought she/he was nice with pink.
While hiking, I saw this purplish-black butterfly on a white flower. I have a fear of insects so I usually avoid them but the contrast of these two things was so nice.
After we reached the bottom, we passed a small town to get to a train station. When we were passing a house I noticed this very small nest under their roof. Tiny birds were crowded in there. They were so still, I had to wait for a while to check if they were real. What a life!
We haven’t gone hiking for a while. Now the weather is warming up. I want to start hiking again! I’m sad that Winter is over though.
I wish you all a Merry Christmas!
I’m going to cook a roasted chicken and watch ‘Home Alone’ with my husband later tonight with some eggnog.
What are your plans for Christmas and New Years Eve?
Maybe some dancing with your loved ones?
Project: 10 Year
In Korea, we couldn’t travel outside of Seoul often. Even though I don’t agree with it, it’s very common among Korean families, not all, that kids especially girls are not allowed spending the night outside their home before they get married. We had to manage going places early in the morning and come back before my curfew.
We wanted to hike on Mt.Seorak which is one of the most popular and beautiful mountains in Korea. Since it was almost impossible to actually hike up to the top and come back in time, we took the earliest bus and a cable car to go up the mountain. After, we went to a fish market nearby, got ourselves a squid sausage before hopped on the bus.
I took this picture when he was drinking water from a fountain after we came down from the mountain. He took a picture of me too and that picture became his favorite that he framed and kept next to his bed.