Sometimes, I can’t watch or listen to anything. My head gets fuzzy and sounds from outside become unbearable. When that happens, reading is the only activity I can enjoy. During this time, I read a bit obsessively. I usually don’t even bother to read when I’m tired. But if I really like the book, I keep reading and I fight with my sleepy eyes.
One Sunday afternoon, after I came back from the dog park, I’ve been busy here and there doing some housework. I finally sat on the couch to read. After a while, I felt my body melting, and soon fell asleep. I woke up to the sound of my dog, barking at me letting me know it’s his dinner time. I remember that I was trying hard to lift my heavy eyelids. They must have given up on me. In the evening, I found a picture of me on my phone. My husband saw me sleeping, with my face covered by my book, and he took a photo. I finished the book later that day and I liked it very much.
가끔 아무것도 보고 싶지도 듣고 싶지도 않을 때가 있다. 머리가 멍해져 외부에서 들어오는 자극들이 견디기 힘들 때엔 책이 나의 유일한 즐거움이다. 이런 날들엔 책들에 사로잡히게 된다. 보통날들엔 몸이 피곤하면 읽는것을 포기하지만, 책이 재미있다면 졸린 눈과 사투를 벌이며 계속 읽는다.
어느 일요일 오후, 개공원에서 돌아온 후, 집안 곳곳 집안일을 보고 마침내 쇼파에 앉아 책을 들었다. 책에 빠져들고 얼마 후, 몸이 녹는 듯한 느낌을 받았고 결국 잠들어 버렸다. 우리 개가 짖는 소리에 눈을 떴다. 녀석의 저녁식사 시간이었다. 내가 기억하는 것이라고는 무거운 두 눈꺼풀을 들어 올리려 안간힘을 쓰던 것뿐이었다. 내 눈꺼풀들이 무거운 잠에 지고 말았나 보다. 늦은 저녁에 핸드폰에 저장되어있던 사진을 발견했다. 남편이 책을 얼굴에 덮고 잠든 나를 발견하고 찍은 사진 이었다. 나는 이날 밤 책을 다 읽었다.
It was a hot afternoon. My husband and I took our dog to the dog park. Like most dogs, he is extremely excited about going to the park. We usually let him play with other dogs, but if there are not any, we fetch. He is a Rat Terrier mix, and is obsessed with chasing a rat (in his reality, a ball). We settled under a tree. After fetching for about 15 minutes straight, he finally laid down near our feet. He was trying to calm his breathing down.
It was a pretty quiet day. Since it was a weekday, not many people brought their dogs. The shade under the tree protected us from the sun. The summer breeze brushed the heat off us. Dragonflies came and went, and birds flew low, chasing bugs. We sat there quietly, waiting for our dog, ready for another round of fetch. His hard panting was suddenly amplified in my ears. And the beat of his breath made my heart beat stronger. He seemed happy… and I was happy too.
더운 어느 오후, 남편과 개를 데리고 개 공원에 갔다. 많은 개들이 그렇듯 우리 개 또한 공원에 가는 것을 무척이나 좋아한다. 공원에 개들이 많이 있다면 우리는 녀석이 다른 개들과 어울리도록 해 주지만, 그렇지 않다면 녀석이 좋아하는 공놀이를 같이 한다. 우리 개는 농장에서 쥐를 쫓는 일을 하는 랫 테리어 믹스이다. 녀석의 현실에서는 쥐 대신 공을 집착에 가깝도록 쫓는다. 우리는 나무 밑에 자리를 잡았다. 약 십오분 정도의 쉼 없는 공놀이 후, 숨이 주둥이까지 차오른 녀석이 우리 발 밑에 자리를 잡고 엎드렸다.
잔잔한 날이었다. 주 중이어서 개를 데리고 나온 이들이 별로 없었다. 나무는 태양으로부터 우리를 지켜 주었고 간간히 불어오는 여름바람이 몸의 열을 쓸어내어 주었다. 잠자리들이 날아왔다 갔다를 반복했고, 새들은 낮게 날으며 벌레를 쫓았다. 우리는 녀석이 다시 공놀이 준비가 될 때까지 조용히 앉아 기다렸다. 갑자기 녀석의 가쁜 숨 소리가 귀에 크게 들어왔다. 숨 헐떡이는 박자가 내 심장 박동 또한 강하게 해 주었다. 입을 크게 벌리고 숨을 빠르게 뱉어내는 녀석이 행복해 보였고, 녀석을 바라보는 나도 행복했다.
A few days ago, I was talking to my friend and our main subject was our dogs. She said to me, ‘It’s a good thing that you met your dog’. The words she used in Korean was ‘다행이다’. It could mean a good thing, luck, mercy, and so on. As there are many options for translating the word, it engraved in me mixed feelings.
He wasn’t our first choice from the shelter. We met two other dogs briefly hoping that we could have one of them. But our situation and timing weren’t right and they met their new families before us. However, we saw our dog there and liked how he presented himself before us from the opposite side of the glass wall. We decided to try him out when we saw him again a couple of weeks later when we visited the shelter second time.
He came to our home on Christmas Eve last year 2018. One week later, we went back to the shelter and signed on the final adoption paper. It took me for over a month to figure him out and teach him basic command and rules. It’s been only two months since he came into our life. But I already feel that he is our dog. Our family.
So about the word that my friend said to me, I still can’t explain my emotional reaction toward it. But I’m very much thankful he came to us. Perhaps, it truly is mercy for all of us.
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.
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.
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.
Project: 10 Year
At the top of Mt.Fuji, after we watched the sunrise we ate this delicious ramen. I barely remember the taste, to be honest. I remember, however, that I felt it was the perfect ramen.
Even though we went there during summer, the summit was pretty chilly. Also, we were so tired and hungry. The hot noodle soup melted our body and relaxed our tense muscles. Holding the bowl and drinking the soup made fog on my glasses. That haziness is my memory of the time in the restaurant.
Japan also has many mountains that can be reached easily like Korea. We bought a book of hiking courses that we can go by trains. We’ve climbed few mountains and one of them also had a restaurant at the top. We did not want to have heavy stomachs while hiking, so we did not eat anything. But it was very tempting because we knew from the hard-learned experience of Mt.Fuji that the ramen would be amazing.
I could go for a nice hot bowl of ramen right now!
Project: 10 Year
Our first real hiking together was Mt.Fuji. We had a chance to climb up the mountain with his flight. To watch the sunrise from the top, we started hiking around 5:00 p.m. I used to hike with my parents often when I was young. Korea has so many beautiful mountains all over the country. Hiking is one of Koreans’ most popular weekend activities. So climbing Mt.Fuji wasn’t a big deal for me.
The climbing itself was fine but hiking at night was new to me. It was too dark and from time to time there was a strong wind blowing. When it happened, we had to stop moving to stabilize our feet. If there were not so many people heel to heel, it could be harder. Usually, I prefer fewer people during hiking for walking at my own pace. I can also enjoy the quietness of the wilderness. At Mt.Fuji, I’m glad there were people around me.
At the base of the mountain, we bought a long stick. It was for support while climbing and also for collecting all the stations’ stamps. We stopped at every camp, and got all the stamps on our sticks. A couple of times, we ate some miso soup and snacks.
Even though it was getting harder on my body, I didn’t want to rest too long. I wanted to have the same momentum until the top. We reached the top at just right time for the sunrise.
It was way more windy and dusty than what I expected. Because of the sandstorm, it was hard to talk to each other but we did not need to talk much. The sun came up soon after we got our spot. The view was breathtaking.
I made this drawing of the view I saw at the top of Mt.Fuji, a few years back.
It is available as a print from here: click
Climbing down from a mountain is the relatively easy part of hiking. At least most of the time. For Mt.Fuji, it was definitely an exception. The trail was a long winding slope covered with small rocks. It was really hard on our legs. We got so tired, we did not speak most of the time. At the bottom, we were so exhausted. My husband was sitting down leaning the stick against of his forehead. He didn’t even want to hold it anymore.
I had some difficulty walking for a while. I remember every time my legs didn’t do what I wanted them to, I bursted out laughing. One day, I want to climb the mountain again.
Project: 10 Year
It was around my mother in law’s birthday. My father in law bought some beautiful flowers for her. He also gave me these colorful roses too. I put them in the corner of our room and watched them bloom.
I love flowers. I often buy them for myself. For some reasons having flowers in your house, room, or anywhere make the place much brighter.
I remember someone once said that she thinks buying flowers is useless gift and waste of the money. I’d think at that time, what a dry minded person she was. I still disagree with what the person said to me. If you skip one cup of coffee, you could have some beautiful flowers for a week to enjoy.
I recently bought a small bouquet of white gypsophila, pink carnation, and yellow daisy and lily.
When was the last time you bought some flowers for someone or for yourself?
Project: 10 Year
This is Boots, attacking me with her kisses. She was the third boxer my husband’s family had. Every time we visited my in-laws, she liked to hang out in our room. I think she liked my husband and followed his lead pretty well even though he wasn’t around most of the time. One night she was sleeping under our bed and started dreaming. Boxers have so much skin on their lips. It was funny watching her moving around her mouth a lot. I always wonder what dogs dream about.
One afternoon, when my husband and I were the only people in the house, my father in law called us to check on some beef that he was thawing in the kitchen for dinner. My husband couldn’t find it in the kitchen. He looked around then saw an empty plastic container next to Boots. Her stomach was so big she had to go to sleep. She liked to eat very much and didn’t even care if she was drinking sea water or hot sauce.
One evening, my father in law asked us to bring her to the vet because she seemed to have some pain in her legs. It wasn’t a big deal but it was a sign of her aging. A couple of years ago, we heard that she was suffering from massive pain and that they had to let her go. I didn’t have much time with her but I was sad. It still feels weird when I visit my parent-in-laws and see no sign of her.
I’m sure she is at peace though.