Lost in darkness

Oftentimes I find myself in a precarious situation; walking home in the dark with few lights to guide me. I’ve read the story of the bong cheon dong ghost (warning, not for the faint hearted) and walking at night scares me.

I wear a rosary bracelet on my left arm – a nun gave it to me as a debutante gift, I start saying prayers as I find my way back home. I’m not a fully believer of ghosts existing; but I don’t entirely doubt it, I won’t be surprised or angry if I see one unless it attacks me or something. I find comfort in my prayers and continue the dark trek home.

Walking and getting lost in the darkness is really something that I dislike – but I don’t necessarily condone. It brings me to a higher awareness and even though I’m continually assailed with comments such as “God doesn’t exist.” And my mind conforms to human “righteousness” taking this walk reminds me that although the human mind is flawed, as God made it, there is something there, always.

I remember to thank my guardian angel and God for getting me home safe, my eyes large and reflective at the church across the street being the only street light in my immediate area. I finish my rosary and walk back into my house where I’m questioned about my calmness in the darkness from the light of an increasing more violent society.

This post was written in response to the shooting and murders in Connecticut and China respectively. Reading the tragic stories in the news gives me a perspective of how lucky I am and how much I need for remember that I was given a second chance at life.

Good teacher vs. bad teacher

All my life I’ve been surrounded by teachers. Teachers of all different languages and races because I’ve lived in so many places and so many countries. Never before have I ever truly experienced a good teacher until now, until I decided not to go to college and volunteer with a teacher I know.

This has been the best decision of my life.

I take a role as one of her students, sit at their desk while running copies and doing menial tasks while commenting on some children, some dreams and some themes in their stories. I learn more in her class than in twelve years of schooling. My eyes brim with tears and my mind searches for a way to learn more – yes learn more after attending a fifth grade class seven, eight years later.

I’ve never once had a teacher make me want to learn, make me want to think, make me want to be better. And even at the coffee table discussing one child and a problem that he has, she tells me what I can do to help.

“Mem, you know what the problem is, we’ll fix him like we fixed you.”

“Yes, and I’ll continue to be a good example for him, and let him know we love him while reaching back and letting him grow on his own.”

Teaching is hard. I’m just a volunteer that’s there everyday and I know; I’ve seen it on a teachers face. We discuss the stories, the pictures, the arithmetic, and the lesson plans. How do we approach it in a user friendly way? How do we let them explore with their overbearing parents?

So many questions, so many possible answers. So much love. I hope that my being there will help them change, grow and blossom.

A lesson

I find myself sitting between two college students and watching them draw work that i will not see myself doing until years later. The idea haunts me. I eat the following:


As i continue to attempt to draw something way beneath their level:


(sorry about the shadow, its my arm).

the teacher comes out and plops a book next to me:

“youll soon be done with this book this is your next.”

“I think i can manage.”

“Thats the spirit! Youre at the point now where nothing will be easy anymore and everything will be progressively harder. Few will make it and those that dont will interpret this as failure. If youre willing to learn this everything is on you now.”

i look to the left at the beautiful hydrangeas (my favorite flower) the student is drawing and to the right at the mushrooms the other student is. I look on the walls and remember the motto she spoke when i first started my lessons:

“turn your home into your own art gallery.”

i remember when i was younger and drawing was all i had for a friend and for company. I remember how unartistic i was and wanted to learn how to paint so badly that i saved up money for an easel and paints when i was eight. I remember scrounging up the money to pay for these classes.

I answered with a line drawn on the paper. And the teacher dismissed me, planning her next lesson as one that may break me apart.

Walking with mama

After a tumultuous year, I (and my mother) get to spend few solitary and peaceful moments together. It’s not that we don’t want to but our personalities clash so heavily and we aren’t very good talkers, always keeping quiet unless our honest truths come out.

Which in our conversations, happens a lot.

Yesterday, she and I walked alone for a while, got along and suddenly I realize, this is the mother I love and adore, who loves and adores me. I’ve missed so many moments of my life being torn up by her and she by me.

Throughout the human life, especially in adolescence, it’s healthy to rebel, and rebel I did. I also knew it would hurt her but at the same time, in order to preserve my sanity I did.

“Mem, how many days left?”
“I’m going to hold onto each of those 86 days and miss you terribly when you’re gone.”
“Regardless of all the fighting?”
“You’re still my baby girl. And you bright this light into this household.”

I didn’t cry then. But I cry recalling these words to anonymously show the world how much I love my mother, and my mother loves me.

Mom, in 86 days I won’t be a child anymore. I’ll be growing up. I’ll always be your youngest and you’ll always be the mother who lay in bed for three months straight after four miscarriages trying to keep me alive in those pivotal few months and watched over helplessly as doctors kept me in an ICU for a week because they thought I was defective because I was born to older parents. You watched me grow in three different continents, always struggling to make the right friends and choices, in the end you are the reason why I made it so far without too many problems.

Closing this horribly sentimental blog post, last night I realized. No matter how hard I try, or seek. I’ll never understand a mothers love and strength until I am a mother myself.

“I think I’ve been here before; it must have been years or more”

Kimbra “Sally I can see you”

I’ve started a new set of community college classes and both of them required me to talk in public. I’ve written about how I can’t even say things in front of children and whatnot, and I think how my shyness controls me. A friend of mine has been talking extensively as to how I should assert myself, but it just seems impossible.

One of my teachers came up to me today and asked what topics I wanted to look deeper into. It’s a psychology class and one of the topics I chose was shyness.

“Mem, are you shy?”

I nod my head.

“But you can say a lot and be loud when you want to.”

“Yes, but that’s just because I only say something when I know what I’m talking about.”

“I understand, I’m the same way, but I also like teaching. It’s hard sometimes.”

I smile and she walks away and I just can’t get the lyrics from Kimbra’s song out of my head:

“I think I’ve have been here before;
It must have been years or more.
Like the first day I got off of the plane,
No one cared to know of my name.
I think I’ve been here.

Sally I can see you,
I’m not the girl that I used to be.
I’ve grown out of my own muse,
But my heart hasn’t changed.”

But they did care of my name, they have noticed me.