Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Unexpected Trip

I had planned on going to CT for the weekend to visit my bestie, Meegs, but my plans dramatically changed yesterday, when I learned that my cousin was taken from us too soon. I canceled my amtrak ticket and booked a flight down to FL where I will meet with my brother and head to see family I have not seen for years.

I feel happy in a sad way, that I will be able to be together with so many of our loved ones. I feel sad that it had to be for this purpose. The last time I saw Mikey was when Uncle John passed away, unexpectedly. That time, we all flocked to the cold and snowy northeast Ohio. Mikey and the rest of the gang were there and the "Floridians" couldn't wait to dive into the snow and sled down grandma's hill. It was another sad occasion, but we all were happy to be together.

Such will be this reunion in the South.

Life is too short. Hug those you love. Don't wait to tell someone what they mean to you. Do the random act of kindness. You will never regret it.

Live and love.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My little cousin

I'll let his smile be his lasting memory.
May there be many big fish where you are now.
Rest peacefully, Mikey.

photos from his fb page

Friday, January 25, 2013

Real World- Inauguration Style

The team that I worked with at the past two Conventions came together to do our first Inauguration. As we were not being put up in hotels this time, the head of our team put us up in a house on the Hill. There was a large group of us in a two-bedroom row house. Since Andrew was the only guy, he got one of the rooms all to himself. The rest of us ladies were in the other room. It had a loft, and two beds, so we slept in close quarters over the 10 days or so, that we were there.

You might think that sharing a home and working around the clock would put too much pressure on any group, but for us, somehow it worked. We had our moments at the beginning, but we worked out the kinks and came together as a team, once again.

I know most of us are going through withdrawal after spending so much time together and being so close, literally. Hoping our next reunion is in Korea, if not sooner in the US!


It is no secret to most people who know me, that I suffer from claustrophobia. It has been getting worse over the past few years and now sitting anywhere besides an aisle seat on an airplane sets my heart racing. This, of course, is a slight problem since I now fly a lot. I actually never worried too much, because most of my flights are with Nicholas and if one of us gets a middle seat, the other has the aisle. He always switches with me, bless him, and I never have to worry.

I shared with my dad that I have been getting worse and more things are triggering my claustrophobia, and how airplanes are my new torture chamber if I get a window or middle seat. He suggested that I might need to talk to someone about all this, since I fly so frequently and that there is always a chance that I won't be able to get an aisle seat. What? Never, I tell him. I always pick my seat out in advance and have never had to sit in a seat I did not want. Shortly after this conversation, ironically on my flight home to Cleveland from New York, I get the dreaded middle seat. I am puzzled how this happened. I am an elite flyer, so I automatically get the better seats (economy plus and upgrades, if available) so I do not understand how I got a middle seat.

I had a decision to make. I either could talk to the flight attendants before boarding, share with them my fears and hope someone would be able to switch seats with me. Or, I would try to overcome my fear and ride in the middle seat. I decided I would go ahead with my assigned seat and I would practice some techniques a friend taught me about breathing, smiling, laughing, singing, etc., when in a situation like this and to try to trick your body into having an opposite reaction. I figured, worst case, I would stay out of my seat as much as possible and best case, I would have no one near me.

When I boarded the flight and headed toward my seat, my heart started to race and I did my best to talk myself out of the crazy thoughts in my head. "Everything will be fine." "Middle seats are fun. (said no one ever...)" "I'll probably just sleep the whole time." "It is all in my head. It is all in my head."

Smiling like a fool, forcefully laughing to myself; "Change your reaction," I thought to myself.

Then, I saw my seat.

It was an emergency exit with so much legroom I couldn't even reach my leg to touch the seat in front of me! Success! I am so proud of myself for not giving into my fears... this was a piece of cake ride all the way to Cleveland ;)  phew... 

Missing Seoul

Over the holidays, (and now) I was missing Korea. So, to solve the issue as efficiently as possible, my parents took me to an authentic Korean restaurant in Cleveland.

I could barely decide what to order while looking over the menu. Everything called to me and it had been months since I had had my last meal. I settled on Kimchi stew and waited patiently for all the Banchan (side dishes) to arrive. And arrive they did! It was an embarrassment of riches! The quantity and quality of the side dishes rivaled our favorite shops in Korea. We (...I?) quickly devoured the little bowls of kimchis, eggs, fish, etc. We ordered far too much food, and had to bring it home. The food was inexpensive, the portions large and the flavors spot on. I was super satisfied and feeling a little closer to my Korean home at the end of that meal :) 

Canton Tour

Over the holidays, I was able to spend a Sunday afternoon with Poppy and Grandma Leah in their beautiful home. We ate her delicious, spicy soup and Poppy shared stories from his youth. His memory is so vivid of those days. The way he spoke of the coal mines, his siblings, the neighbor he used to spy on makes you feel like you were transported to his childhood. I plan on spending time with them on my return and hopefully recording these stories. The imagery is so vibrant, the stories so detailed. He wants to write a book and it is just a matter of putting his words on paper. 

After he finished sharing, we discussed books and movies. My grandparents are in the know of what is cool. Poppy told us that when my dad went to college, he introduced him to the book "A Confederacy of Dunces," and everyone in the room, minus me, had read and enjoyed the book. I added it to the list of books that I must read and started searching Amazon on my phone. In the meantime, Leah slipped out of the room and before I knew it, I had a brand-new, still in cellophane, copy of John Kennedy Toole's book. They had saved it to give as a gift someday. I am so happy I was the recipient!! I have been quite busy so only got through the first few chapters, but look forward to some slower days and long reading sessions. 

From Poppy and Leah's, I went to see my FGM, Laura. She had just moved into a new apartment 5 minutes from my grandparents (!!), and needed help hanging pictures on her bare walls. I spent the night, and we measured and hung her frames in each room of her new place. By the end of the night, it looked like she had lived here for a long time. It was quite an accomplishment, as I am the last person who should assist in such matters. Moments requiring extreme concentration and attention to detail are not my strength, but at the end of the night, you would never have guessed it! I suppose we all can change :) 

So happy some of the people I love the most now live so close to each other. Cannot wait to see them all again when I go back through Cleveland in February! 

Christmas Show

To start the Christmas season, I spent my first Saturday in Cleveland with my Grandma and mom. We ate at a local diner, decked for the holidays, and then went to see a Christmas Carol. We had a wonderful time. I was lucky to get to spend some quality time with Grandma on the first leg of my US tour. I look forward to a visit on my return before I continue my journeys! 

Santa Came to Town

So the past month has gone by in one big blur. The most important event that occurred was the arrival of my Christmas gift. A few days before Christmas, a plane touched down in Cleveland carrying the best gift I ever could receive :)

Our first dance at our wedding was to "All I Want for Christmas is You." So, it was only fitting that Nicholas would arrive and be home with the family for the holidays. It was a great surprise to the family and there is nothing better in the world to be with all of your loved ones for Christmas. Nicholas had just flown from the US back to Seoul 10 days earlier, so the return for him was a bit tough. He was a trooper and exuded the Christmas spirit and brought the biggest smile to the face of my mother. What more could you ask for?

I don't know what we did to deserve it. We must have been really good this year since I surely got the only thing I wanted for Christmas, Nicholas.

Friday, January 4, 2013

I'm Rich...

With love and experiences :)

Lunch with the Boys

Today I was invited to lunch with the "boys". I use the term boys loosely since salads and tea were enjoyed ;) I kid, I kid. It was fun catching up with Don and Dad. Can't wait to do it again with the ladies!

Happy New Year

Last year was one of the most interesting so far. Nicholas and I lived in three continents and traveled to a fourth. I spent half of the year on the road. In fact, I am still on the road for another 2 months.

I have to say we have been extremely blessed and had an incredibly big year. Not sure what this year will hold, but if our past is an indication to our future, I bet the adventures continue.

Live big!