Year of Health // A Review II

 The string holding these past twelve months is still pulled tight in this sort of make or break tension. Remember the reward of love is the power to love fully (M. Bickle) and I see now, reward is too in the power to receive it. 2017, thank you. 



I fly with the team to Nias, Indonesia and feel alone. Then, fears cast out, I see how God goes before me. We wake up to pray as the chants go off before the sun rises. The day in Melakka is bliss, the durian puff kind.  We cross the border and are in Singapore for less than 12 hours. Home is where God is, so everywhere. A and I fumble on the phone with extra long-distance and some on/offline connection. Back in Seoul, Flower Bar meetings with Skysbook. Elevator pitch sounds a little "like a cup of coffee in the morning or a weekend drink with friends, Flower Bar bouquets can be a simple and beautiful part of life." A visits before Vietnam and we're together together. He shows me a better way to hold hands. MK and I say goodbye to M and wait for a third roommate. 



Funny feelings as we play catch up/stock up, I am everywhere else but right here/now. A leaves the day before 29 and it's easy waves at the airport. August blurs and I enjoy the time alone. Eating leftover chicken soup in an American Apparel bodysuit watching Empire Records, waiting for my darks to spin dry. I want to drop everything and move to LA to pick jujubes (do they jam or are they better in pie, I brainstorm). How do you know when it's right? He says, "move to Vietnam". I cook a lot. MK and I stretch across the apartment, daydreaming of a Flower Bar studio facing the winery in the back. We pray once and meet E the following week.



September magic! A and I start days together, putzing around kitchens two hours a part. I am more of the morning person but we already knew that. The structure at work is a welcome change. A little responsibility goes a long way and I remember how to produce. All in good timing, as I see the bottom of my savings. A visits for a weekend because he can and we celebrate with a triple date.  A couple gyal dems, a couple Minnesotan studs, a couple Koreans, a couple couples coupling. "Name three things we appear to have in common." A new thing is exactly that, new. As in never seen before. It is the thing God is doing. The girls meet on Wednesday and we are giggly. E is a good, good friend and we dive deeper. 



Another ride out to the East coast, the best shades of green and blue still found on this side of Korea. We fall into a deep Narcos hole and spend the cloudy afternoons cuddled with Pablo. The boys fill up the jacuzzi our last morning and we talk love and long D. J brings breakfast up to the tub, even better than to bed! I get another wisdom tooth removed, but will I chew in Vietnam? Saigon, Hanoi, Cat Ba, Halong Bay back to Saigon, I eat everything. The best cucumber is from a doner kebab stand in the Old Quarter in Hanoi. M and I reunite of course, and we walk together even now. “Why are we only worthy of love because he says so?” I’m still thinking of how to understand and answer. A and I are good together in transit. Pictionary while we wait. Then the hardest conversation and God remains the perfecter of our faith." The pleasure of God as we race, this is the prize, the pleasure of God as we run." I run up the stairs with letters to read and reread them in our blue suede chairs under the big windows in the living room. 



JOY. and the fullness of it. The ladies get their roars back. MK and I dust off Flower Bar, back at it with the midnight pick-ups and mid-day deliveries. H and I climb again, I'm not getting any better. But do you always have to get better?  A comes back for American Friendsgiving and it's the easiest it's ever been. I work all Saturday, leaving him to defend the kitchen. He stuffs the turkey fine and I trust him officially. We whisper about life together on a full bus under neon, confetti lights. A’s eyes twinkle in the dark as we talk provincial food research for me, language acquisition for him. It’s more fun in the Philippines. Can we escape? We do, to a traditional inn under absolute darkness. We have the mountain to ourselves and he rushes me and my gyul. It's harder at the airport this time. I work the rest of the month, nose to the ground. Don't see much of anything or meet anyone else. My brain is thinking four months from now.  



Seoul grinding, part-time yes, but still grinding. Given up on keeping up with everyone and everything else. I'm on my way out and made the mental switch before I tell anyone else. We pray for healing and it happens! The house makes it to the gym a few times. We treat ourselves to home-cooked meals all week. Merry Kimchi Christmas and it's worlds away from our last. It's all different now. Everyone but DP meet in Saigon. And just like that, it's alright again. Hoi An and Danang this time around and I still enjoy it. Mars and Venus translations. A flies out first and the K's and I are left stranded in Saigon. First kendama Christmas and again with the newness. "A new thing is exactly that, new. As in never seen before." Free shots before midnight, I text my two other friends to meet us at Pet Sounds. Countdown and a kiss. We dance into the first half hour of 2018 and crash.

In a few hours, we'll wake to catch the first sun of the new year. 2018, is it you?

Year of Health // A Review

 The string holding these past twelve months is still pulled tight in this sort of make or break tension. Remember the reward of love is the power to love fully (M. Bickle) and I see now, reward is too in the power to receive it. 2017, thank you. 



At Uncle Sam's with L and I call "Year of Brunch" but am surprised by my flight passage in Isaiah from the year before. They who wait on the Lord, who hope, who trust, will walk and not faint. There must be more to wait for. K and I savour the winter time off and look for new places to stomp. Mullae-dong and HBC remind us of the possibilities of first year. Girls talk over 5,000 house wine and cheese platters. "We want to be looked at! Over here, see me!" See me on a  boat, on chilly, long walks home. See me across burgers and fries, and in used bookstores. The Road is long, and leads me to a yellow hardcopy at the MMCA. I misread signs and forget where I'm going. It snows and I wait, and wait some more. It snows some more. MK and I partner up to look for studios. Our eyes bigger than our stomachs, how great is our appetite to make! To host!



I stand by K as she wraps things up. I want to love like she does! After a Valentine's buffet I meet the rest of us at the Lookout. With wine, we open our time capsule. A connected online. His overconfidence meets my regret and he wonders if there's more for us to talk about. I need more wine. The next day over Indian are platonic chocolates and butterfly notes. I keep myself shut and play by rules I don't believe in. Just like that K is gone. The hardest goodbye is watered down and I'm beside myself. I don't recognize myself and I buy a ticket home to find her. Mandy Moore's butterfly tattoo remind me of all that will come after. Hurting to keep my hands open to a different kind of good. So health becomes the purpose, godliness the pursuit.



I am tired all the time, hungry for more than bread. I pray, a lot. Remedy and recovery with my long-time girls and I think of staying in Toronto. I don't and MK meets me with flowers and a sign. People are here waiting too. I piece together a rough tutoring schedule, and trace commuting routes. I am alone a lot. I turn 27 at home with people I'm polite with. I make tacos and buy myself flowers. Most mornings, I lay in bed for a long time. I don't want to wake up but I do. I put the kettle on and make eggs. R leaves me her copy of Ruthless trust and I try saying it out loud even with no one to hear me. By the end of the month, I believe deeper, and wider. It doesn't make sense to me either. 



Finding routine with freelancing, though I hope to write. The words don't come and it's fine. I'm tired of hearing my voice, anyways. I press pause to look for a new one. I row once on the river and am awful. I feel weaker and am still tired. Energy leaks and I'm sure it's my gut...a gut feeling. My real birthday happens one night after a Costco run, on a driveway in Bangbae. I'm gifted a white bike from angels and everything is perfect. Perfect for our flights of stairs and rides to foreign marts. And more rides around the Han, to Jamsil by the drive-in under the bridge. Rides to Paldang for a midpoint corndog. I fly to Jeju near golden time to forage for gosari and wild spring onions. Culture coding happens at the dinner table. Early signs of spring look like plaid shirts at the top of Kyungridan and chewy cookies near the bottom. It's easy when one of you is leaving but not so when only one of you understands. We stretch our Garden Home for thirty people to celebrate MK with burgers and salsa. She dreams up Flower Bar and we go with it. I play with L and K. Good people are everywhere. H and I find one on a rooftop in Jogno. His dog finds us shooting film first. 



 We drive out East for the blue skies and sea, bikes in tow with MK, T and JP. We finish listening to the waves in the dark and drive home to T's stories.  A meets me for noodles before walks to Seoul station. We wear our 5,000 won gifts. He asks to see me again and I can't see past him leaving. Freedom happens again and I dive into vulnerability without K from a new post. I miss my second flight, this time to Manila. A postponed visit, I push it back and back again. My first alone with family and I face only my own resentment. I take all day to forgive and hop on the next flight out with less baggage. Manila is beautiful and my eyes don't stop seeing in film. K is married and I can only send a video with congratulations. BS group breaks in the rooftop for the season with more burgers and salsa. Strangers walk all the way up looking for a restaurant. I take it is a sign. The same family in Manila visits Seoul, and we spend more time. MK and I launch Flower Bar and take our first orders. A joins G and I for Chinese and friendship stays easy with Google lunch buffet.



A and I meet at Casablanca then go up to the church, the same one from his saddest birthday. The view is better, clearer and I know what I want but stay quiet. More goodbyes poolside in the US and we're all together before he flies out. I call him at the airport and we choose to try. I make new friends in line for waterslides, a special bond over shared terror. DJS and JP move the picnic table under the sun for our little lunch spread. I climb for the first time and enjoy the puzzle.  My body does all the thinking and my brain learns how to listen. J and I go for thyroid checkups and I'm purple toxic. NTS: Do not drink the tap water in Seoul. Continuing tradition, maybe for the last time, JP rings 30th on the roof. A few days after we're Kingdom bound to Kuala Lampur. Serving inter-generationally and cross-culturally, I feel at home.