Did you know?

Her eyes lit up as she saw me walk by.

Ming (Auntie) Soapie!!!” The seven year old tilted her chin up to look at me.

“Yes?” I answered.

“You’re a nurse right?” she asked in her high pitched, cute voice.

I nodded. Most people didn’t recognize me on the weekend, when I wasn’t wearing scrubs.

“Did you know, Continue reading

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

If You Only Do What You Like

 

“Mom’s eyes held yours for a moment.

‘I don’t like or dislike the kitchen.
I cooked because I had to.
I had to stay in the kitchen
so you could all eat and go to school.

How could you only do what you like?
There are things you have to do
whether you like it or not.’

Mom’s expression asked, What kind of question is that?
And then she murmured, ‘If you only do what you like,
who’s going to do what you don’t like?”

― Shin Kyung-sook, Please Look After Mom

It’s a Good Calling, then…

One panel featured during the "More Than a Number" Exhibit featuring the stories of Cambodian Genocide Survivors. 2012.

The “More Than a Number” Exhibit featuring the testimonies of Cambodian Genocide Survivors. 2012.

“We live in a world where bad stories are told,
stories that teach us life doesn’t mean anything
and that humanity has no great purpose.

It’s a good calling, then, to speak a better story.
How brightly a better story shines.
How easily the world looks to it in wonder.
How grateful we are to hear these stories,
and how happy it makes us to repeat them.”

― Donald Miller, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life

To Spend Christmas Alone

IMG_5109

a giant wooden bear. Harajaku, Tokyo.

It’s not so bad, you just need a plan:

1) Start a few weeks early, mailing out cards and gifts in advance. (Just because you can’t be with your friends and family on Christmas Day doesn’t mean you don’t send your season’s greetings.)

2) Go grocery shopping before Christmas Day, because on the day of, the stores will be closed and you’ll be left hungry. Since you’ll be alone, there ain’t no one to cook for you but yourself. (And if you don’t know how to cook, maybe it’s a good time to start learning..)

On Monday and Tuesday I had to work as usual. It was a cold and rainy evening commute. Without an umbrella, I couldn’t walk to the full service grocery store (aka ‘Whole Paycheck’) so I walked to a nearby store and picked up ham, green beans, and mashed potatoes. Unfortunately they didn’t have real potatoes or fresh green beans so I was obligated to buy boxed potatoes and prewashed green beans. Don’t judge. =P  

3) All the love you would have given to your friends and family- give to your neighbors and those around you instead. 

The reason why I couldn’t spend Christmas with my family is because Continue reading

Versatile Blogger Award / Dona Nobis Pacem

Last week’s tumultuous weather really dragged me down… (winter storm from last week? watch for the upcoming blog post on it!) Is there such thing as emotional jet lag? Cuz since I returned from Asia, I have been jumping through one hurdle after another…

So I interrupt all this funk to share my excitement in being nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award! I’m a former xangan for over a decade so certainly not new to the blogging community.. but after migrating to WP I definitely felt like a small fish in a giant pond. This award reminds me that perhaps we are more connected than we think.. =)

A big thank you to HongKongFong for the nomination. She’s a talented photographer and blogger who captures the beauty in the everyday –  in her life and all the colors, cultures, and cuisines that compose Hong Kong. (She’s also a fellow oboist! YEA oboes!)

7 random things about myself… Continue reading

“The clock had run down…”

new england sunsets (fall 2011)

new england sunsets (fall 2011)

That was it, he realized; the clock had run down. All of the clocks in the room had wound down- the tambours and carriage clocks on the mantel, the banjo and mirror and Viennese regulator on the walls, the Chelsea ship’s bells on the roll top desk, the ogee on the end table, and the seven-foot walnut-cased Stevenson grandfather’s clock, made in Nottingham in 1801, with its moon-phase window on the dial and pair of robins threading flowery buntings around the Roman numerals. When he imagined inside the case of that clock, dark and dry and hollow, and the still pendulum hanging down its length, he felt the inside of his own chest and had a sudden panic that it, too, had wound down.

When his grandchildren had been little, they had asked if they could hide inside the clock. Now he wanted to gather them and open himself up and hide them among his ribs and faintly ticking heart.

When he realized that the silence by which he had been confused was that of all of his clocks having been allowed to wind down, he understood that he was going to die in the bed where he lay.

-Paul Harding, Tinkers