Skimming Deep

Searching, traveling, talking, reflecting, and exploring. Read along with me as I continue on my journey through life.

Month: August, 2012

V is for “Vast”

The world is both small and big at the same time.

Small in that we can travel to any part of it on a plane in, at most, two days.

Small in that we can talk to anyone anywhere anytime.

Small in that we can run into people we know in any part of the world coincidentally.

Big in that there’s so much to see that it’s really hard to see it all in one lifetime.

Big in that driving across the U.S. still takes a lot of time, in actual hours.

Big in that the sun takes awhile to cross the skies of all parts of the world.

I’m going to be seeing just a bit of that vastness in my travels.

Here’s my planned itinerary:

By car:

  • Boston to Niagara Falls, Canada to Chicago, Illinois to St. Louis, Missouri to Aurora, Colorado to Santa Fe, New Mexico to Globe, Arizona.

By plane:

  • Phoenix, Arizona to Los Angeles, California to Auckland, New Zealand to Bali, Indonesia…

And that’s as far as I’ve got planned right now.  I’m hoping to throw in a few more countries like Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, and Korea at the end.  I’m leaving soon.  September 3rd to be exact.  Excited and nervous.  Trying to finish my packing.  Last night could only sleep 4 hours.  The days are passing [too] quickly.

U is for “Unearth”

Moving is a process of “unearthing” everything you own and, in some cases (if you have the willpower, stamina, and discipline) to assess what to keep and what to get rid of.  It’s amazing how much stuff is unearthed when you pack up.

I packed yesterday and today.  Yesterday, I took 20 more boxes to my friend’s house in Pembroke, along with big pieces of furniture.  And today yielded about another 10-15 more– I wasn’t able to do a final count.  I’m still wrapping up some loose ends of the final tidbits that just can’t get put neatly into a box.  So far, I guess I’m at about 45-ish boxes?  What?!?!?

This is a fraction of the stuff I have.

And yet more stuff, sitting on the front lawn, waiting for its turn to be loaded into the U-Haul van.

As I have been packing, I’ve been slowly getting rid of things (mostly files-related).  And also determining what things I want to store in people’s basements and spare bedrooms (thanks, M, E, S, and P for helping me store all my things!!!) and what I want to take to Arizona with me on my road trip.  I’m determining what are my favorite books and belongings.  And I wonder, for everything else I’m storing, why am I storing them?  Will I really use them again?  Why can’t I let go of these things (mostly books, teaching materials that I’ve used over the years, random odds and ends that I can’t even really categorize)?

Unearthing things also unearths memories– who wrote that note to me and under what circumstances?  Who bought that thing for me that I just can’t seem to part with?  Who does this thing remind me of?  Where did I buy that?  When?  And as I wrote in my last post about the nostalgia that emerges in this season anyway, it’s just a double/ triple dose of “awww, I remember when…”

On a completely different note, here’s a fun photo I wanted to share– a self-portrait in shadow.  Who knows if and when I will ever post a photo of myself!

I was at the reflecting pool in Boston again, and the wind was blowing really hard, and I caught this shot of my hair blowing in the wind.  It made for an interesting effect.

T is for “Transitions”

It’s a time of transitions.

There’s the obvious transition of my moving out of Boston and going to travel with no permanent home for several months, possibly until the end of the calendar year.

It’s the transitioning of seasons.  This time of year always makes me nostalgic.  I loved the beginning of school, getting new school supplies, getting new school clothes (a uniform in grade school) and new shoes, getting ready to wake up extra early.  Yes, I was a nerd.  Yes, I am a nerd!  And proud of it! When I started college, I loved going back to school, driving the seven hours on highways and through the mountains with my little station wagon packed to the gills with everything from clothes to bedding to a rice cooker and toaster oven (both illegal!) to loads of snacks to last me at least until Thanksgiving!  I loved reuniting with my friends.  I loved the smell of fall in the air.  I loved the new notebooks and textbooks where the daily grind of school and homework and papers hadn’t settled like a brick on my cheer.  I loved the last few days of summer warmth.  I wasn’t a fan of the shortening of the days or the inevitable cold that settled in around November (that happened going to school in New England, in the mountains!).

So the end of August/ beginning of September brings little tuggings to my heart, making me yearn for the old days.  The smell of fall is unmistakable in New England– a cool, rusty, slightly burnt air smell.  The energy in the air is different, too, kids and adults all anticipating the resuming of regular life, leaving behind the laziness of summer.  I feel slightly sad this time of year but it’s a nice feeling.  Like the passing of time, which I have learned to embrace and not resist.

I noticed in the night sky tonight that it’s a transitioning of moon phases as it grows larger, not quite the time of the lunar harvest moon– that comes in September this year.  I love to see the growing of the moon over the evenings until it’s full and then starts shaving pieces off until it is no more visible.

And I’m really starting to say goodbyes to people.  I’ve been dreading this– when I actually have to say goodbye, not knowing when I’ll see people again.  I hate saying goodbyes– I’d rather say “see you later,” but I don’t know when I’ll be back and in what capacity I’ll be back– as a visitor, former resident scooping up my belongings or as a returning resident who has decided to stay in Boston longer.

Transitions always leave me wanting to linger in the past, cherishing and mulling over the memories, a little reluctant to move forward.

It’s not that I’m not ready or having second thoughts.  But I’m definitely feeling nostalgic.

I’ve had a long time with this personal transition, which has been good for me– a slow exit to really chew on all that I’ve accomplished in my time here in Boston.  A time for me to really appreciate all the blessings in my life.

S is for “Success!”

Being Korean American, I grew up eating kimchee.  It was just a part of meals every night, and I didn’t really think much about it.  I liked it, didn’t LOVE it, didn’t hate it, just liked it.  Took it for granted.

After I moved out on my own, I realized how much I had developed a taste for my mom’s kimchee.  I’m sure every Korean kid says that (at least if they like kimchee), they like their mom’s best (if their mom makes kimchee, that is).  And it might not even be that great, but you get used to it after eating it for 18 years of your life!

When I moved to Boston, I just ate less kimchee because Korean food in Boston is pretty bad, so I just didn’t go to Korean restaurants; Korean grocery stores’ kimchee wasn’t quite right– I’d try buying some and I would never finish it because I didn’t like that taste; and most of my friends were not Korean, so I didn’t feel the need to eat it as much– I was mostly eating Chinese and Vietnamese food.

Also, my mom stopped making kimchee for awhile, so even when I went to visit my parents, I didn’t eat a lot of kimchee.  In recent years, though, she picked up making it again, and I’ve been having cravings for her kimchee, which is amazing, by the way.  I’ve been on the hunt around here for good kimchee, and once found it at Koreana, a local Korean restaurant, and I bought a container of it after eating there one night.  But since then (that was about a year ago!) I’ve been on the hunt.

My mom has tried teaching me how to make kimchee many times throughout the years, but I think I just had a mental block.  Kimchee is like the holy grail of Korean cooking!  I’ve learned the basic soups and dishes that I like, so I can replicate those things, but KIMCHEE!!!!  I’ve just been afraid to try.

But about a month ago, I went to visit a friend (who isn’t Korean, not even Asian!!) who has loved kimchee since I and some other Korean friends in college introduced her to it.  She was craving it one time, and she looked up a recipe online and made it!  That astounded me!  How did a non-Korean person sit down and make some kimchee?!?!?!  So when I went to visit, she said she had some cabbage, and asked if we could make it together.  I brought a recipe that my mom had given me, and we did it.  And it wasn’t as hard as I thought!  I left that batch at her place, but it did LOOK right, so I figured it must TASTE right, too!

Last week, I got a cabbage in my CSA, and so I set out to make kimchee again.  This time on my own!

And, voila, SUCCESS!  A hurdle jumped over!  A mountain climbed!  A bucket list item checked off!

This year has been full of accomplishments like this:

  • doing handstands against the wall in yoga for the first time ever!  This was last summer.
  • traveling abroad alone for the first time– to Paris back in March.
  • quitting my job and setting out to travel!
  • playing keyboard in a band and improvising a bit.  I’m classically trained and never thought I had what it takes to play pop music on keys!
  • starting a blog!

It’s been an amazing year– I’m coming up on my birthday, and I must say that a lot’s happened in the last 12 months.  And a lot more to come!

P.S. Here’s the recipe that my mom sent me through email one time for making kimchee.  I’ve left in all her grammatical idiosyncrasies:

How to make kimchee
1. wash the bae choo (cabbage)
2. Cut to bite size
3. put in salty brine water and take out let it stay in the salty condition for 3 hours

for one gallon kimchee
chop garlic for one gallon need one whole garlic
2 or 3 medium bae choo
one bunch scallion chop one inch
ginger 2 teaspoon
sugar 1/3 cup
salt 1/4 cup to taste right amount
little shrimp in brine two table spoon chop extra fine
fish sauce 3 table spoon
red ground pepper 1/3 cup to taste wash the wilted bae choo in clean water 2 times
drain water very well.

mix above and put in jar and push down lightly. pray that this kimchee be tasteful. very important. I pray to God , Jesus, Mary , Pancratio, Agnes, Sophia, Philip, Paul and to all the saints.
Winter time need 2 to 3 days to fermentate. summertime 1 to 2 days
every morning you push down lightly to have the juice cover the bae choo.
when you take out kim chee, do not mix top to underneath. it ruin the taste of freshness.

R is for “Resonance”

Lots of things have been resonating with me recently:

  • connecting and reconnecting with friends whom I haven’t seen in awhile and are now seeing because I am leaving.  Talking with these old friends reminds me of why we are friends to begin with.  So many resonances!
  • walking through parts of Boston in the beautiful pre-fall weather, seeing places I recognize, seeing new places, smelling the familiar air, and appreciating the nice aspects of Boston.
  • talking with people who have traveled recently or in the past and them sharing stories of experiences they have had that are in line with what I hope to experience– adventures, volunteering, self exploration, lots of eating!

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These are pictures I took on my walk yesterday on the Rose Kennedy Greenway, the result of the Big Dig where the highway was sent underground leaving above ground space for trees, grass, and a nice pathway in the urban jungle.

That mural was really eye-popping.  It’s on the area where the Occupy Boston encampment was located last year.  It’s interesting that this mural was put up (through the Institute of Contemporary Art) almost as a continuation of the spirit of Occupy Boston.

This past year I have been feeling a lot of resonance with everything around me.  Harmony.  Connected.  Antsy but at peace at the same time.  I was reminded of the concept of resonance structures from my college chemistry days when I was still pre-med!  Something about a stable form of a molecule or something like that.  What I take from that concept is the sense of stability, lowest potential energy where things are solid.  And even with so much changing around me, I feel grounded. I hope I can draw from that energy when things get hectic in my travels as I’m sure they will!

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