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.
Snow just turned into rain. It’s so wet and cold out. I’m craving Kimchi stew so bad today.
아침에 내리던 눈이 비로 바뀌고 얼었던 땅이 축축해진 추운 오늘. 김치찌개 먹고싶다.
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.
First thing I do after I wake up if my husband didn’t do it already, take our dog out. When we finish walking around our apartment complex, he runs upstairs to our home. He knows. It’s time for breakfast. I prepare his meal while cooking some bacon and eggs for my husband and me. After we all finish eating, my husband goes into the shower, I wash dishes, and my dog chews his gum. When I finish cleaning, it’s time for my husband to leave. We say goodbye with kisses and our dog begs for him not to leave. After the door closed, I sit down on the couch with a cup of tea and a book. Our dog lingers around me looking for some belly rub then walks to the fireplace, his favorite spot and lays down. I read and he sleeps until the sun replaces our fluorescent light.
This is my early morning ritual.
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
This was what I got for my husband on Christmas in 2009. At that time, I was learning how to weld in my sculpting class. I like physically challenging work so welding was very fun to me.
After I got the date to visit him and knew I will be there for Christmas too, I was thinking about the gift for him. Since I was a poor student, I couldn’t buy nice things for him. Having a talent for making things is very useful for this kind of situation.
I decided to make a big key with his name on it. I was not very good with detailed welding work yet, I could not make his name very sharp. But I made it’s tip extra sharp so it had a somewhat dangerous look to it.
He loved this key. He also amazed that I could weld. I promised to him that I will weld some small spots he wanted to fix on his old car when we go back to the U.S. Well, we have to see how that will turn out though.
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.
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.