Monday, August 31, 2015

So, monarchs are a-holes and other things I learned while visiting home

When I say, "monarchs are a-holes," I am 100% referring to the butterfly. I have no idea whether monarchs of the royal variety are a-holes. Although, I would assume that some of them are the same way some of any group of people are along the spectrum of a-holery.  

Anyway, whilst home, I learned that monarch butterflies hang out most around milkweed, thistles, and other kinds of weeds. Seriously bro, why you gotta be that guy? I am not a gardener nor do I know anything about botany, but I do know that if I were to ever have a garden, I definitely don't want weeds all up in there. But, if I want my garden to be a safe haven for North America's most known butterfly, I'd have to let my garden be overrun with weeds *intentionally*. This is a true Sophie's choice, my friend. And, I do not have time for that nonsense. 

I also learned that I can wear my clothes, get them all sorts of dirty, wash them, dry them, AND WEAR THEM AGAIN all within a span of four hours. How crazy is that? 

I realised that when I grow older, other people do, too. I have this absurd idea in my head that my Waukesha home and life is sort of preserved in a snow globe. And, I forget that everyone continues to do stuff regardless of my being there or not. I forget that children, especially, grow quickly. I had an aching reminder of this as I said goodbye to my niece. I know that I will never hold her again while she is a baby. And that, well, that was a really difficult thing with which to come to terms. To be honest, I still really haven't. I also realised that the next time I go home, both of my best friend's children will be talking, scrambling around, and remembering more and more. And, I want to make sure that I stay present in their lives as much as I can. I want them to know how much I love them. I want them to know that I think of them everyday. I want them to know that as they grow up, Auntie Ryn is always in their corner despite being 22,000 miles away. 

I also learned that some things do not change over time. My mom still kicked butt in most of the card games. She and I were pretty even in Scrabble (although, I pulled out a W in the end--quite shocking to both of us). My sister and I are still 3 for 3 at saying the exact same thing at the exact same time with the exact same tone. My dad still plays tricks on me, and I still fall for them. Every time. 

While home, though, I struggled with the unknown. I mean, that has never been my strong suit anyway. I like having answers, even if I don't agree with them. But, as I responded to the same question over and over again ("So, what's next for you? Will you stay in Korea?"), I started feeling sheepish with the fact that I have no idea what my future holds. I have several paths I'd like to follow, but those could change so so quickly. In six months, my life will be drastically different from what it is now, and that is terrifying. I wish I could find excitement and joy in the vast space of possibility. I wish I could "adventure on" and let things happen organically. I am way too much of an anal retentive control freak to let things work themselves out. I am my own catalyst for change, yet paralysed by indecision. So, that's where I am. I am not sure I am willing to tackle this particular demon yet, but at least I know he's there. Perhaps I'll invite him to tea. He can sit between Anxiety and Self-Doubt. I've worked with those two for a while, so maybe they can help him feel comfortable in my brain space. They'll be bosom buddies in no time, I'm sure. 

My time home was exactly what I needed. I learned that neither time nor space stops things family or friendships. And, if I took nothing else from WI, I took a killer Teva tan. So, there's that. 


Sunday, August 9, 2015

So, I come from a long line of musicians

I never realised how important growing up in a musical family was for me. In Korea, I noraebahng, play around on a ukulele, and sing a wee bit on the ultimate field to get everyone's spirits up. But, I don't really have a specific time dedicated to making music or experiencing it. But, in the 24 hours that I've been home, music has been everywhere, and everything seems right again.

My family unit, always evolving, has once again shown me that home is about people not places--making memories. Finding peace. As we sat around the living room, Sarah played the piano, and we all sang Ben Folds with Penelope changing dance partners like it was a Virginia Reel. Then, Sarah played our special song, and together we sang, cried, and leaned into one another like we did so long ago.

Then, this morning at Mass, the hymns were all oldies but goodies. And, even though I am no longer Roman Catholic, I will admit that their hymns are top notch. We sang a very familiar song for the "preparation of the gifts." And, together, we announced our parts in harried whispers in the pew and rocked that hymn with a solid SATB harmony (plus P's enthusiastic warbling understood only by other babies and God). If we were in a noraebahng (Korean singing room), we would have gotten a 100%, no question.

Of course, church isn't about SATB harmonies, but there is a sense of peace that comes from knowing that despite time and distance, there's something distinctly familiar about raising our voices, making music, and feeling at home.