The Definition of Home

the definition of home

my students leaping with joy

Waiting at the gate to board, I searched for my boarding pass. My hand brushed against a Ziploc bag.

Fresh coconut slices.

I held the bag in my hands. It was a bit of a nuisance; if the juice leaked from the bag, it would soak my journal, laptop, chargers, and travel pillow. My backpack was already cramped.

But Ba had insisted.

~ ~ ~

Before coming to the airport, Ba stood in the kitchen, holding a fresh coconut.

“We have fresh coconuts?!” I asked, a bit bewildered.

“It’s for you, កូន (daughter), drink the juice,” Ba grabbed a mini axe, the size of a butcher knife, then hacked away at the head of coconut. He flipped the coconut upside down and drained the clear coconut juice into a tall glass. He carved the pearly, white flesh out into thin slivers, and packed them into a ziploc.

“Drink.” He pointed to the glass. “For the plane ride.” He handed me the bag.

It was a short trip home, and I didn’t get to spend as much time with my parents as I had wanted. Actually, I spent the least time with Ba. It was the weekend before Father’s Day, and I was not able to stay another week to celebrate Father’s Day with him either.

Yet he continued to care for me, in the best way he knew how.

Food. Continue reading

I slept and dreamt… (2014, in Review)

2014collage_2
This past year, I surrendered the reigns of control over my time.

Through the long nights, aching arms, tired feet, weary but hopeful faces of my dance students and my patients, there I truly begin to understand…

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. 
I awoke and saw that life was service. 
I acted and behold, service was joy.”
-Tagore

My top 3 nursing stories:

3. Sun, Moon, and Stars – on illiteracy

2. Exposed Ankles – on an immigrant’s struggle

1. Keep on Dancin’ – on perspectives and purpose

Honorable mention: Highfives and Heartache– on sacrifice and ebola

Top 3 characteristics I learned about God
3. God sustains.
January 18, 2014:
“Life is a complete mess right now; I feel as though I’m walking in a storm. Lord, the winds have whipped me back and forth, it is cold, feeling like I will go numb from the bitterness of others who tear me down. Lord, save me! I will say though, that God You remain wonderful and it’s truly evident that You are real and at work in my life.”

2. God protects; He is sovereign.
March 11, 2014:
“Ba called me. He said, ‘My ICD [defibrillator/pacemaker] shocked me.’ Ba described how he went for a jog and fell on the ground. 

The whole event, Ba being alone while jogging, him calling me first instead of 911, the burden of not being there during a medical emergency… it’s frightening. Horribly frightening.I was so relieved Ba was discharged from the hospital, but it doesn’t change his prognosis. I must and need to accept that, the uncertainty of our future here on earth. God help me to trust in You no matter how gray or uncertain the future.”

1. God has a vision, a plan for me.
August 23, 214:
“You can see far greater than my eyes can see- You have big dreams for me; I’ve been challenged in so many ways recently…”

Random 3 photos of treasured memories: Continue reading

When You Mourn, I Mourn Too

Everything was pink.

Pink roses highlighted a heart shaped bouquet. Pink suit, the last outfit she’d wear. Pink ribbons pinned to suit pockets, to remember her battle with cancer.

We sat in silence, our hearts heavy.

Her husband cleared his throat, then spoke in Khmer. “When I first met my wife, I saw her disabled leg. I knew she felt embarrassed by it, but I looked at her, thinking, ‘her…that’s her, that’s my soon to be wife.’ Although her leg was disabled, her heart was not. Her heart was beautiful…”

During the war, all I remember was running away from the guns,” my friend sobbed. “I was told the story by my family member that I was only 2 yrs old and my sister was 12 yrs old.

Continue reading

Knees to the Earth

My feet paced up and down the hall. My mind a whirlwind.

It’s been 2 hours already.  Is Ba ok? 

~ ~ ~

 July 30, 2005 

“Hurry, let’s go,” the surgical team rushed, preparing the patient to return to the catheterization lab (cath lab)

A woman hovered against the isolation glass, looking on through her dried tears.  She watched in anxiety as the patient was about to be rolled away.  Would she see him again, alive? No one knew.  Her face crumbled, her chest heaved, and hot streams flowed down.  She sobbed fear into her hands.

The heart surgeon led the way.  Her lips sealed tight together; she didn’t say a word.

But I could read it on her face…  Continue reading