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July 2004


July 29, 2004   

today (7/29) is the 100th day of my baby niece’s birth. we went out with my sis’s in-laws to lunch. we had several courses, with:

– rib eye and mushrooms in broth (kinda like shabu shabu style) w/ side dishes and a really tasty sauce that i don’t think i can replicate

– kimchi bokumbop cooked in the same steel pan as the broth

– udon

– watermelon

– ice cream

dinner is a mystery that has yet to happen.


– pancakes

– lots of snacking (chocopie, slim jim, this fake ramen-like cracker, dried mango)

– spicy squid, mushroom stir-fry, cucumbers, anchovies, kimchi, and other sides

my sis, bro-in-law, and big niece at at the airport to pick up my mom’s cousin’s son, who is visiting his mom in Korea from Atlanta. i think he has packages for us. yay. 🙂


July 28, 2004   

it’s kind of startling when you catch yourself doing/being/feeling things you don’t like. two things i’d change about the world and myself:

– more empathy

– less self-pity

i never liked self-pity, either in myself or in other people. i am not sure if it’s just me, but it feels like it’s not that hard to control your emotions and outlook. in the last several years, i think i had forgotten that. you can look out at a hot day and complain about it, or you can enjoy the warmth on your skin and the sun shining down on your head and know you can’t have that in the winter. you can complain about the cold snow and having to dig your car out from under the sludge, or you can marvel at the forces of nature that can create such a beautiful and fleeting blank canvas. you can say, “Oh, how crappy my life is,” and lament everything you don’t have, or you can say, “Oh, how full of loved ones my life is,” and enjoy your day to day existence and choose to feel every moment.

you can choose to burn bridges, or you can build them up. you can dwell on the bad, or dwell on the good and make plans to improve the bad.

it’s been too easy to seethe in anger and hatred and frustration at the world, at politics, and at family, but what does that do for me, except debase my own character, hold myself back from enjoying a more emotionally fulfilling life? why tit-for-tat when you can forgive and move on in the cases of things i have no impact on? i can enact change in things i do have an impact on, but i don’t need to be held back by loathing. i am choosing to move on.

it’s frustrating at times when you see people you care deeply about going through bouts of self-pity. because i love them, i want to help, but it’s hard to help when someone feels bad about themselves or their situation. the only thing that works for me is to tell myself to stop, and i do, but it doesn’t work that way for everyone. it can’t, because people are built differently. i don’t know what creates that difference in people, but i wish i could flip a switch that lets people see what they do have, and not what they don’t have. being an optimist is not about denying reality. it’s about seeing reality, then choosing to not let the bad things take over your life and cast a shadow over the good things, and choosing to honestly appreciate the latter. i want to look back on my life and not have to regret having glossed over happy moments and complained about things that mean nothing in the end. i want to look back and know that i didn’t let a single happy moment go by unnoticed.

tidbits i had forgotten

July 27, 2004   

two things: 1) i had an odd dream a few days ago that a dream analyst would say was perfectly transparent, and 2) i have a new hankering to go to Singapore.

first, the dream. there wasn’t a lot of setup, but it seems like i was back in college and there were lots of people from that time period hanging around. for some reason, my ex was back in town, and i was supposed to try to work things out with him, but i wasn’t committed to it. this is weird because i haven’t had a dream about my ex in about 6 years. he wasn’t mad at me, and he was willing to put everything behind him and see if we could resume before things went bad. meanwhile, seppo was still around and i think there was some agreement that he’d come back around in a few days to see how things were. the ex and i hung out and things were pretty happy and peachy, but it felt like i was in a holding pattern, that i wasn’t really going to try to have it be anything but a pleasant time hanging out with a friend, yet we were holding hands and acting lovey-dovey. when seppo came by, i don’t know where the ex went, but he wasn’t around. there were lots of other people though. i think we had been at a small stadium or auditorium, sitting and enjoying some sort of live event. anyway, seppo sat with me, and i was really happy. in my dream, i seemed to forget that i was supposed to get back to the ex and spend time with him (although he is the one that disappeared in my dream) and just wanted to stay with seppo. at some point, the ex came by and i told him that i was sorry but that it couldn’t work between us this time either. i remember this part of the dream really wrenched at my heart. it hurt and i felt a squeezing in my chest, and i think i even shed a tear while sleeping. then i stayed with seppo and the feeling passed and he held me and we watched the game or whatever and had a fun time.

you can see that there is really no analysis needed.

the second thing is that, as dumb as it is, the inflight magazine for Singapore Airlines really sold me on travelling to Singapore. later, my sis and i were watching a tv show about travelling, which included a bit on Singapore, and she said that she loved it there when she went for business. also, lately i have been inundated with accounts — both fictional and not — of trips to Paris. i would really like to go. i’d like to take a week or more just to see the louvre. come back everyday, eat around there, take pictures, stroll around… i want to have like 3 months to travel in Europe, an unstructured trip that lets me go where i want when i want. i’d love to see the old buildings and touch the aged wood and marred stones, marvel at the glasswork and the architecture. i’d love to take the train through the countrysides, stop off when i can, eat from a hastily packed picnic basket and nap in the shade. i’d like to drink from cool wells in the mountains, soak my feet in rivers where the stones have been worn smooth over time, bring my face close to the ground and water to see the tiny inhabitants going about their day. i’d like to see the sparkle of the sun through the dewdrops hanging in threads of spider webs and step though thick forest moss.

one day.

your duty

July 27, 2004   

tuesday 7/27:

– soboro bread (kind of crumb cake-like roll with cream filling)

– boochoopajun

– steamed egg custard, vietnamese sausage, cucumber, dried anchovies, jwipo, minari namul, rice

my little brother made a funny joke the other day. my mom thought my baby niece might have pooped in her diaper. i was taking care of her, but i didn’t want to look to see, so i told my little brother that it was his duty as the uncle [to smell her butt, as i was shoving her butt in his face at the time]. so he turned around and said to me, “No, it is her doo-dy!”

ha. ha. hahaha.

really, it was kinda dumb, but i’ll let him think it was funny. hahahah.

more bunnies

July 26, 2004   

there are now 9 bunnies at the bunny cage. some of them are quite friendly.

food log for monday, 7/26:

– pancakes

– boochoojun

– soojebi

we went to home plus tonight after dinner. i bought some candy for lmk and my sis bought a movie for seppo. little bro bought warcraft iii with the money he had been saving.

captain’s log, stardate blah blah

July 25, 2004   

i have no idea how to parody star trek. i’m sure this is obvious.

saturday 7/24:

– spicy ramen (nugoori)

– spicy pork w/ lettuce wrap

sunday 7/25:

– spicy ramen (shin)

– bulgogi burger @ mcdonald’s

– jjajjangmyun

oh yes, i believe round four also happened yesterday. damn, is that four rounds in one day? that’s pretty good, even for my father. heh. there was a comical bit with round four, as my dad had called my mom into his room and had a closed-door meeting with her, probably about rounds two and three with me and my sister. my sister was worried that he was gonna hit her while we weren’t looking, so i snuck over to her porch, which has a window out from my dad’s room, to eavesdrop, pretending that i was going to the refrigerator, which is also by the porch area. i was creeping along the floor and sticking my head out the door when my niece came running up to me and asked me (at pretty much top volume) if i was playing hide and seek in the porch. hee. i guess you can’t ask for tact at the age of 3 and half. 😀

rounds two and three were due to my dad asking my sister to find his copy of his arrest warrant. when my sister asked him what he wanted her to do with it (like, make a copy? translate? fax it to someone? just bring it over? etc.), he freaked out on her immediately and screamed at her that she better listen to what he says. so she was brought it over and he told her to find the things that work in his favor and translate those parts from his arrest warrant. surely, it is obvious why my sister felt that she needed to protest. they write up your warrant by making a convincing case for your arrest, and it is not a fair and accurate representation of your case, nor is it a comprehensive, detailed account of the trial. so she tried to tell him this and he proceeded to freak out even further, screaming that she’s useless and that she treats him like he’s an idiot because he has no money (he’s obsessed with money as a bartering tool for respect, but no one else in my immediate family is afflicted with this particular disease), that she won’t ever do a single thing to help him, that my mom is a shitty mother for raising such a bad daughter, that she constantly raises her voice at her elders, that no one could possibly want to put up with her, ad infinitum. seriously, she was very calmly and helpfully trying to tell him that there is nothing useful for him in his arrest warrant, and that if he wanted something like that, it will have to come from his recollection of the events or from the full trial transcript, which is entirely true. and my sister is tireless about helping him and putting up with his nonsense. my father has not laid a hand on me since i was about 12? 14? but he’s hit my sister pretty badly several times in her adult years, and she has not yet cut things off with him, as i would.

after going on for some length, he called me into his room to tell me to read over the papers. not having a real idea of why my sister and dad had been fighting (well, i don’t know if you can call it fighting when one person is trying to help the other person, and the other one is throwing a temper tantrum), i asked him what it was for, and he explained it was to find something to help him when he talks to the korean police because they might have to re-try him. i believe that his assertion that they may re-try him in Korea is sheer and utter nonsense, but once he gets an idea in his head, he can’t be talked out of it, so i didn’t bother. i just said ok. of course, when i looked over the papers later, it’s only the circumstances that sound bad for him that are written down on the warrant. duh. double duh on a stick, for goodness sakes. i mean, does it take two brain cells to put two and two together? and does it take two brain cells to realize that after all the time and money and effort that my sister invested in helping him without complaint, that she wasn’t suddenly trying to be an asshole by not helping him? wouldn’t it make sense that she was still trying to help him? anyway, while i was playing dumb and agreeing to every piece of nonsense he was spewing, my sister came by and said that she was just trying to say the same thing to him, and that she didn’t understand why he was jumping to these conclusions. that led to round three of yelling and spewing vileness that led to my sister telling him not to ask for her help in anything anymore because he doesn’t want her to help in ways that will really help. he was like, fine, i’ll leave.

at this point, i threw a little party in my head.

but, of course, as he had been threatening to leave since time immortal but not really leaving, he stayed. he threw his clothes at my mom and yelled at her to wash them, so he can leave, but washing and drying them took a while. oh well.

my father’s song has a refrain, and it goes something like this:

i am so old, i can’t work (15 years ago, it was, i am so old, soon i will not be able to work)

i am so old, i don’t know how long i have to live

your mom raised you to hate me

your mom raised you badly

your mom is lazy

where is my food?

if i had money, you wouldn’t treat me this way

i have the saddest life of all humanity

the refrain seems to have added some new stuff:

your sister is hateful and selfish

little does my dad know, i am the one that cares the least for him in the entire family. luckily, i have no good memories of him, so i can have a sort of unmitigated sense of hatred and disgust for him, other than the usual inner child longings to have a good relationship with my progenitor. my older brother, whom my dad curses as being a failure and useless at every opportunity, still admonishes me to mind the fact that he’s my dad and to give him respect. my mom constantly tells me that i should respect him and feel sympathy for what he has been through (which i do). my sister is always feeling sorry for him and has some memories of him being good to her when she was small, and she only gets into fights with him because it breaks her heart to hear him say such patently unjust things to her. i mean, imagine how it feels, doing your best despite bad financial circumstances to make your father comfortable, making sure you take care of all his paperwork to settle in, finding out all the minute details of what happens to people in his circumstance, working for years writing letters and crap, just to have him tell her what a selfish person she is and how she can’t do a single thing for him, and that she would be nicer to him if he had money. what kind of crap is that. anyway, she still tries to get through to him, which is why he freaks out at her. i just nod and agree with all of his idiocy, because there is no point. i agree, then assess what he asked me to do, then i either do it or don’t and tell him some lie, because there is nothing between him and me that makes me care about any integrity in my interaction with him. for instance, he asked me to write to the montel williams show, based on some friend he made while in jail. i told him i wrote him. yeah, whatever.

bah. i hate it when he makes my mom upset or my sister upset. and my little brother is so confused. he’s spent the last 3.5 years thinking that he’s got this ideal dad tucked away somewhere, and if he came back, it’d be all “Growing Pains” or “Family Ties” or maybe since it’s not the 80s anymore, something like “Everybody Loves Raymond”. i don’t want to outright tell him that he’s got a shitty dad and not to expect anything from him but heartache, but a the same time, i don’t want him to believe the shit that my dad spews about my mom or my sister.

the little brother had a fever of about 101 yesterday, so we gave him some tylenol cold syrup, and it was going down, when the pops freaked out and yelled at us for being cheap and not taking my little brother to the hospital, just like we were too cheap to take him. wow. ok. yeah, the little brother that i helped to birth is so unimportant to me that i am going to let him die because i’m too cheap to take him to the hospital. we were cooling him down, but he made the bro go in his (dad’s) room where it’s less cool, and covered him up with a blanket and applied cold compresses to his head. ok, either cool him down or heat him up. what’s up with doing both? it’s not like he even has the remotest clue how to take care of a kid. anyway, we let him because we knew the drug was kicking in and the fever was going down. suddenly, dad decided that my bro had a fever because he has indigestion. so i had to find some stupid “digestive aid” (i looked to make sure that all the ingredients were just folk herbal medicine and it wouldn’t be bad for his fever or interact with his medicine in anyway) and make him drink it. later, i told my dad that the bro’s fever went down, and he’s like, i told you it was the indigestion.

sigh. that’s why i don’t argue with him. why would i want to give myself an ulcer? like the child that he is, dad decided not to eat dinner to punish us. oh yeah, i forgot to say that he freaked out to my mom about food a few days ago. we wanted to go grocery shopping, so my mom was about to tell him that we were gonna go, but that she will give him lunch early if he wanted, when he cut her off too early and went on a yelling binge about how dare she leave without giving him his proper meal. *rolls eyes so hard they plop out onto hands*

today, sunday, we went to ASEM Tower and COEX mall. they were filming a tv show for an MBC-owned game channel at this “x-box zone” place. they had this huge arcade-y type place dedicated to free x-box stations hooked up to live. weird. so we played in there for a long time. i bought a korean novel for myself and the da vinci code for my sister and a magazine for my mom. my niece got a block set from me. 🙂

ding ding ding

July 24, 2004   

rounds two and three have occurred. yee-hah.

sad news

July 23, 2004   

two of the three bunnies in the apartment complex died on wednesday. it’s so sad. my little brother was told that they died, but i am hoping that the person that told him didn’t actually know for sure, and that they were just missing from their cage because they were taken to the vet for a sickness or something. 🙁

obligatory entry

July 23, 2004   

i think i am only posting what i’ve eaten because i feel obligated to taunt lmk with the fact that i’m getting home-cooked meals. 😀

yesterday, thursday 7/22:

– oden-on-a-stick

– spicy rice cake (dduk bokki)

– blood sausage w/ glass noodles (and a tiny bite of liver)

– spicy tofu, seasoned dried squid, spicy cucumber, cucumber in vinegar and stuff, seaweed. i refrained from the squid tartare, but i am not sure why.

hmm, despite telling seppo that not everything i’ll eat here is spicy, i guess dinner was mostly spicy stuff. but the dishes weren’t made to be spicy; they just have a little red pepper to give them a little kick. and no, i have not yet had spicy ramen for breakfast! ahahahahahah!

today, we went to the US embassy to get jeni registered as an US citizen. my sis filed for a social security card and a passport for her. i should have stayed home, as the security personnel told me not to come in when i told them i had no real business at the embassy. real smart, me. 😀

today, friday 7/23

– kimbop

– jolly pong (ack! the snacking never ends!)

– iced coffee

– haven’t had dinner yet, but it’ll prob be the same as yesterday, as we need to get rid of the leftovers. plus, i love tofu and dried squid.

random cute [read: barf-worthy] thought: i like that seppo and i both were compulsive about having perfect creases on our origami as children. heh.

i have triumphed

July 22, 2004   

on wednesday night, i finally joined the ranks of every average schmoe in the 80s by solving the rubik’s cube. well, i mean, not on my own. i used the little solution guide. so i guess i am saying that i successfully followed directions and was able to see my own hands complete the last turn that brought the cube to its solved state. nonetheless, it was a satisfying moment, as i had never been able to do so before. heh. i’m so feeble. 🙂