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Category Archives: whimsy

Lunchtime Blogging

July 28, 2009   

Been crazy busy with work lately. Not so unusual, but it’s pretty exciting. I wish I had a couple of breathers to just sort of clean up all the messy corners and tighten up the loose bolts, but time is limited.

Sleeping badly lately too, probably far less than before getting pregnant. Hip joint and left shoulder hurts like a mofo. Hip joint pops every time I get up and hurts like a joint that shouldn’t pop.

Clearly have been tweeting too much, as I can only seem to write in fragmented sentences.

Looking forward to the new season of America’s Best Dance Crew. Woo!

The public areas of the house are starting to tidy up ย and feel nice.

Trying to figure out when to have my mom come out to help with the baby.

Found out yesterday that my sister told my dad I was pregnant. It is nice to know he knows. I’m still reluctant to talk to him, for complicated reasons. I may write him a letter. He has a job as a security guard and is working. With my grandmother’s recent passing, I don’t want to have regrets about not reaching out to him later, but it is still really hard.

It kills me that even with all the money I make, I don’t make enough to ย pay all the bills here, shore up our financial security, and still get my mom off food stamps. I breaks my heart that she’s still on food stamps. It just kills me.

I’ve finished the Sookie Stackhouse series (up to the most current one out) and started Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series. She got me with her free Kindle book, Darkfever.

Looking forward to getting away to Hawaii in August. At the same time, I think about my dad in Korea and my mom and think, gah, is this really, really ok? Couldn’t I be helping them more? I know there are things I need to do for myself too but in the long run, what will make me happier?

A blogger I read regularly is getting divorced. It saddens me more than it should, given that he’s a stranger.

I’ve been cooking Korean food the last few days. Simple Korean food (not restaurant food) really feeds more than my body; making it and eating it calms me, makes me feel rooted, and other touchy-feely bs that kinda makes me want to hurl, but there it is, undeniably making me feel good. Truly, it is comfort food.

I feel tired. I feel restless. I feel like things are changing faster than I can really take in. I don’t feel like myself, but a wimpier, weaker, whinier version of myself. This too shall pass. I’m not used to it, but it’s not like it’s a permanent state.

I recently reread my NaNoWriMo project from 2 years ago. Or has it been three years already? It wasn’t as good as I had hoped it was. Oh well. It was a learning experience, and I think I can come up with something better.

I’d like to organize my photos. I wish I had more photos as a baby.

Seppo and I talked about how amazing it was that we are where we are in life right now. I was born in my grandmom’s house, lived in houses without running water or indoor plumbing or a modern stove (cooking was done over the fire), and now I live in the Bay Area, in a great neighborhood, living a comfortable life, calling some incredible people my friends, with access to all sorts of material and cultural goods and experiences. It’s crazy. Honestly, if I thought it was just through my own hard work and not also through a series of incredibly lucky events and helpful people, I’d be the most arrogant ass on Earth.

Life, despite all the little bumps and bruises, is great. The bumps and bruises are tiny, insignificant. Our child-to-be has every chance to live to great life, and I just have to make sure he doesn’t become an entitled person, but an appreciative one. ๐Ÿ™‚

On Being Bilingual

July 21, 2009   

Just this week, a friend shared this article on Google Reader, resparking thoughts on raising our child bilingually.

Being bilingual myself (although my Korean could use a LOT of work), I have always valued this trait. It’s helped me to understand (although not actually speak) other languages faster than average (or so I believe), having internalized the concept of grammar, context, and situational conjugation differences in languages and cultures, not to mention untranslatable colloquialisms, since early on.

Take a simple question like, “Do you feel up to going to the library, or do you feel like going home?” which is, almost verbatim, a question I overheard my second grade teacher asking my fellow student when she was feeling sick in class one day. To someone who was trying to literally translating the sentence, as I was in my first year of having immigrated to the US, that was a completely incomprehensible sentence to me.

These were the thoughts going through my head: “feel” means “to perceive by touching”. “Up” is the direction opposite to “down”, the direction of the sky above my head. “Like” means “enjoy” or something less than “love”. So the teacher’s question made no sense to me. What did the question have to do with the fact that the student looked like they were sick? Within a matter of months, if not weeks, of the incident, the secondary meanings and the combined phrases became second nature to me, and taught me a variety of flexible linguistic guidelines, the most important of which was that I needed to be open to new guidelines that I hadn’t yet encountered.

Just on Sunday, Seppo’s lifelong friend E and his lovely wife J were in town from the east coast and dropped by to hang out with us and a couple of other friends. E’s family is fluent in French and J also speaks a fair amount of French, so they are raising their two kids bilingually, by having E speak at home exclusively in French and having J speak a combination of English and French.

I would love to do this, except with Korean, obviously, since that is the language I have the most emotional and cultural ties to, outside of English. The big challenge is that my Korean is pretty weak. My comprehension of the grammar is near perfect, but my vocabulary comprehension is horrific. My ability to speak grammatically correct is atrocious. I wish my family lived near by so that our future kid(s) could have access to people who speak pretty much perfect Korean as a natural part of their lives.

I’ve gotten in touch with an Oakland Korean American Mom & Pop group that meets nearby, because I’d love to have our child grow up with other Korean Americans around them, not just me. It’s not that I value our future child’s Korean American-ness more than his Japanese & Finnish American heritages more, but that it’s the part of his heritage that I can do the most to help define. A part of this desire is a linguistic connection that goes back millenia; a part of it is wanting my own mother and my older relatives to be able to communicate meaningfully with him; a part of it is wanting him not to reject them as strange and foreign; a part of it is wanting him to grow up with a sense of global community and not just a nationalistic sense of self.

Within my own extended family, there is a huge linguistic gulf between the first and second generation, where children and parents can’t communicate at all, not just from the growing pains of adolescence and beyond, but from the inability to form the sentences that would adequately express themselves to the other generation. There are so many things I can’t say to my parents, and that I don’t understand when they speak to me, and I’m one of the luckier ones in the family who learned & retained more Korean from actually living in Korea.

Recently, my grandmother passed away. I think about all the things I couldn’t tell her when I saw her last. I think about how when my little brother met my grandmothers in Korea for the first time, he had nothing to say to them, both because he saw them so rarely and because he didn’t have the language skills to reach across the divide, nor any motivation to try, and it makes me so sad. My relationship with them meant so much to me, but he didn’t and doesn’t have that, not that he feels the loss. You can’t miss something you never had.

But that’s the thing. I don’t want our kid to grow up never missing what he didn’t have, in terms of being around family, being around people in touch with his cultural heritages (all of them), being able to grow up with the internalized knowledge of other languages and customs. If he didn’t have them, I’m sure he wouldn’t miss them, at least until he was well into his twenties or even thirties, if ever. But I would know what he was missing out on, and I want these things for him.

I really need to learn more Korean!

Reflections on time passing too quickly

June 10, 2009   

Yesterday, as I was sorting through a bunch of old things we had in our giant filing cabinet, I found a bunch of pictures of me with my little brother (now 15) from when he was an infant.

Just like any parent might tell you, I remember the day when those pics were taken like it was yesterday! I remember him being tiny and helpless and gurgling, just barely struggling to move his hands and his bobbly head around. I remember him laughing when I made funny faces. I remember his delight when he pushed something through a hole cut in a box for the first time! I remember him crawling and learning to walk.

And now, he’s 15. I remember when he first stopped running to me for hugs when I visited him at home w/ my parents! And when he wanted me to stop holding his teeny hand out in public.

Man, now that we are expecting a child of our own, I am so excited about going through all the small and big milestones with our son, but also pre-sad about when he doesn’t want to be cuddled anymore, when he’ll be too big to think Mommy and Daddy are the best in the world! :'(

The little bro is coming to visit for a month starting this Saturday. We’ll make him help move our furniture around (it was all shuffled in order to get our floors fixed, which is starting today!) and finish up the painting. Hehehehe. Here comes free labor! Maybe I can make him wash the car too.

Kicks and other news

May 28, 2009   

We definitely, without any room for doubt, felt kicks externally yesterday. It was pretty exciting. I had felt the so-called flutters and even some things that I was reasonably sure were kicks in the past, but yesterday was the first time I was like, “There is nothing in my body that could possibly make that sensation except for a baby!”

I also tried to use the stethoscope to find the heartbeat, but I couldn’t. I knew it would be hard this early and especially with a baby that is attached in the front (I don’t know the technical term, but that’s where the placenta is), but it was fun trying. ๐Ÿ™‚ Some people say they get paranoid when they can’t find it, but I know I can feel the baby moving around in there, so I’m not concerned. It’s just for my amusement.

In the last couple of days, it seems as though the baby has further accelerated in its growth! My stomach is ginormous. It has become uncomfortably large, in that it is big enough to make other people around me feel uncomfortable. It is the metaphorical elephant in the room, so people feel obligated to make a comment, but no one should feel like they need to talk to me about the baby. My brain is already chock-full of baby thoughts and I don’t mind a distraction about “normal” things. ๐Ÿ™‚

My coworker brought us a bundle of baby things for us. They are completely unused (long story, not mine to tell) and of an amazing quality. The haul included a stroller, a baby food steamer/blender, some toys, and a baby bouncer*.

* One might imagine a tough little baby that kicks people out of clubs, but really, it’s a bouncy thing the baby lies down on.

Because I am a dork…

May 21, 2009   

I have ordered a stethoscope from Amazon to see if I can listen to the baby while it’s inside. Heh.