Tuesday, November 29, 2011

When I am hungry

   Hungry belly, started to grumble.
   On the edge of crabby mood, I'm looking for something to eat.
   My body, my brain, every single cell of them wants any type of nutrition,
   but I don't know what to eat.
   Extremely annoying whenever I don't know what to eat, especially when I'm insanely hungry.

   Spicy! That's what I need.
   My body wants it, my taste buds want it, my "soon-to-be" angry temper desires it.
   I search for anything spicy in my fridge, more like violently.
   Don't talk to me when I'm hungry, I'm a wild beast!

   Oh! I found a package of spicy noodle soup.
   Well, it's inconvenient to prepare all that, but maybe it's worth cooking.
   Boiling water, steamy pots, gently laying noodles in the medium pot, spicy red paste goes in small sauce pot.
   It's written to cook for three minutes and a half, but who cares?
   I know by looking when the noodles are ready.

   Yes! It's done. Noodles are soft, the sauce is ready, put them in a soup bowl together and here it is.
   I'm picking the white noodle strand with silver chopstick.
   It goes in my hungry mouth, and it tastes just right spicy.
   Not too hot, not too steamy, just perfect.

   All day I didn't have any appetite, but this spicy noodle brought my lost appetite back.
   Ha....It feels good after filling empty stomach.
   I'm glad I cooked and satisfied my hunger.
   Slowly my brain started to be activated in normal speed and started to wonder-
   why do I feel crabby when I'm hungry?
   And whenever I'm desperately hungry, why do I choose to eat spicy food?

   I don't know, but I guess that's beyond my control.
   I don't know if I can figure it out why, but at least I know how to soothe when my belly is hungry.
   In the end, that's all matter.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

In search of Self and Happiness

In Search of Self and Happiness

Sun Hee Yoon

 "Hi, I'm Sun Hee. You can call me 'Sunny.' " 
   I speak with medium tone of voice with smile. This is how I start the conversation whenever I encounter new acquaintance. Introducing my original name would be the little hint for others that I'm non-native English speaker. If anybody notices my two syllable name is common for Koreans, I'm very glad. But of course, I don't mind if anybody, who is not certain about my name or curious about it, asks my origin or nationality. I prefer when people asks questions, and verifies the truth with me rather than assuming from my appearance or predicting from their personal background.

  Less than a minute, I hesitate how I should continue going on the conversations. No one likes the uncomfortable silence after introducing each other. I try to render many sentences in my head, but the safest and easiest questions seem to be a weather recognition. As long as I stay in the boundaries of the mutual communication ground, I don't feel so awkward. 
  However, I have a desire to be asked certain questions in order to deepen the overall conversations. Among many others, my favorites are; 'How long have you been in Chicago?', 'How did you meet your husband?', 'What do you like to do when you have a free time?', and 'Is there any meaning behind your name?' 
  With eight years of practicing my English in total immersing situation, I've had enough experience to answer those questions without hesitation. Finally I'm willing to share these stories with others. 

*   *   * 

  It's been four years living in Chicago. I can't say it was an easy road from the beginning, but now I can say I'm truly enjoy living in Chicago. What a journey! What an agony! What a drama! What a roller-coaster ride of life! If there's a God, s/he knows how I survived during these four years. No matter how well trying to explain these time, I still don't think it's illustrated enough. 
  In 2007, late September I arrived at O'hare airport with new-born baby in my arm. My husband's recent job then was very promising and considered a great opportunity for the long run. Previous four years of living in Montreal, Canada was just about to settle, now my life seemed to have other plans for me. Having delivered a new-born in Lasalle Hospital in Montreal was just a month and half ago. Leaving family and friends behind who were my primary support was torture. Not being able to drive while my work-devoted husband's staying late in his office was surely a life obstacle. All the stores, all the products, even language that commonly people speak seemed real foreign, although I spoke English good enough to communicate in general life. From A to Z, nothing comforted me in this time. It's said once we experience the time of difficulty, we finally get comfortable in ourselves. I guess that was the reason why I suffered the ultimate isolation, depression and desperation. It's always hard to imagine to put ourselves unless we went through same situation, but I'm in a mission to describe what it was like, being a mom in a foreign land without any comfort or support, building something from nothing. 
  During my little one’s first year, I was like a hostage in my own home. Not to mention that I'm much of outgoing person, very social, a magnet to people, but no one was available. No one visited me, no one reached out their hands. The only person that I could interact was my fast growing child. She was the only human being that I shared my feelings, my life at that moment. In a retrospect, maybe this extreme isolation for a long period made me strong at the same time, made me being able to be flexible regardless the situation.  
  It also came down to a confidence issue. First, I was afraid of talking in English, because I didn't want to make mistakes in front of others. Majoring English Literature in Chosun University in Korea was not helpful when it came to the real conversation in the Jewel-Osco or in the neighborhood playground. I had hard time to understand what the grocery clerk was telling me, so instead of asking him to repeat the questions, I just nodded and pretended to understand. I wanted to avoid further embarrassment. With thousands of times practicing, trying, promising myself not to get embarrassed even if the others don't understand me, finally now I can go to any stores without worries. Furthermore I have an abundance to make jokes with clerks. 
  The other part of overcoming lack of confidence was learning how to drive. I don't know how many times I cursed myself not learning driving earlier. I never knew not being able to drive was the greatest drawback in Chicago life. Whenever I saw a mom who was entering in my daughter's music class with a dangling car key in her finger, there was a loud voice echoed in my head. 'I wish I could dangle my car key just like her..', 'I wish I could take my daughter in a warm car, instead of waiting for a bus in a cold weather and riding with crowds.'
  I tolerated all the inconvenience without complaining, I hesitated enough, but it was time to change. At the beginning of 2010, I decided to take driving lessons. But, I needed to find the confidence in me before driving in the city. I never had any experience in driving what-so-ever, besides I never had any interest or desire to drive a car. But it was time to act, I needed to brainwash myself with this simple sentence, 'I can do it! I can do it!'
  After five months of practicing driving a car with a compassionate driving instructor from the driving school, I finally got the driver license. The day I got the rectangle shape of plastic driver license with my shy smile on was the best triumphal moment of my life. However, life was never easy on me. Since our car was stick shift, I needed to practice few more months to drive on my own. By mid-September 2010, I was finally able to drive alone.

 Now, the year of 2011, mid-November, I'm sitting on the driver seat, shifting engine gears smoothly, taking my daughter to her preschool comfortably. While she's in her school, I often do the errands such as grocery shopping, picking up books from the local library, and if I still have a time I go to the neighborhood cafe. I like to sit next to the big window. I bring my homework from Memoir workshop or sometimes I just take out my small purple notebook to scribble. Often I get teary eyes because I'm writing my memories from the past mainly. Sometimes my words can't describe all of my feelings so I choose certain phrases and forms them into an impromptu verse. I drink alternately Mocha coffee and Hot chocolate. These aroma and the heat warm me up to create a certain mood to write. I often watch people walking by on the Roscoe street. I often gaze long time to the fallen leaves and dried flowers. I look up the sky and look for clearing spot between grey, dark clouds. Then, my alarm says it's time to pick up my daughter. While waiting in the hall way for my daughter comes out from her classroom, I often get to talk with other parents. Luckily I already developed good relationship with few moms and had joyful play dates with kids together. Building a new social network is something I put into priority after learning a hard lesson. But also I'm constantly reminding myself that the relationship always changes so I shouldn't expect too much from others, just let it be. There are things that we can't control, people are unpredictable, situations are tricky but good friends will stay until the end; I believe in this.    
  On my way home, driving my stick shift car in the city of Chicago, listening to my 4-year-old daughter's preschool adventures are like my dream come true. Whenever people talk about their dream, it's mostly extravagant. But I've learned the real dream or paradise of his/her own doesn't have to be far away. It's only a matter of finding it in a mundane life.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Relativity in Time

   When we are given the endless time,
   albeit the fact we do NOT have the endless time,
   but still we have the illusion that our time is infinite,
   we often make huge mistake, which is wasting the time.

   Let's face the reality.
   We were born, and we will die.
   We are doomed with mortality. 
   Our time is limited and we have very little time to do anything we'd like to do.
   Time flies, yes, that's what you hear almost every day.
   But how about your time? Does it fly, too? Or does it seem to stop?

   I have to confess, too. I used to complain about my time that it seemed to be forever.
   Nothing excited me, nothing enthused me. 
   My life seemed to arrive full stop; no action, no pure joy, just mingling and wandering.

   Now, in a retrospect, I regret myself for wasting those days.
   Youth is such a gift, but I only spent it for the perishable entertainment.
   Those years will never come back, and I feel bitter about it.

   In 2011, November 9, 4:00 p.m.
   During 2 1/2 hours of day break,
   I went to the library to select the next stories for my daughter's bed time,
   I went to grocery to buy ingredients for tonight's dinner; Lasagna,
   And, I think, I write and I reflect on myself and sketch my ideas with words.

   I appreciate that I can have day break. I really appreciate that I can drive here and there.
   I thank for the things I have in my life.
   At last, I thank for the times that I could use for better cause.



My Inner Disturbance

  Study hard, learn with great zeal!
  You know nothing about this world,  you young soul!
  So don't waste your time, your life,
  go back to your books and learn from them.

  Countless times of lecture after lecture,
  gotten sick of listening their empty sermon.
  My ears were coated and glazed by their 'oh-I-do-care!' attitude,
  but it only made me contemplate, 'do you really care?'

  'If you think learning is so important, why don't you read first? 
   All you do is watching television and chatting with your friends over the phone.
   Do I really see any role model?' 

   Of course, I didn't speak up.
   I wouldn't risk disturbing my zen any further by doing something stupid.
   I pretended to listen to them although I could answer back hundreds of words with bullet speed.

   Anger, frustration, devastation and isolation-
   in fact,- brought me to the world of books, literature.

   I wanted to know why this world is full of misery.
   I wanted to know why do people live with hypocrisy.
   I need to hear the answer why there are so many gaps between the knowledge and the reality.
   What is going on in this world?

   My ongoing questions will never be calm,
   I'm just taming these inner disturbance with inner strength.
   And I write, what else can I do, huh?


Tuesday, November 8, 2011



I am unwritten, can't read my mind, I'm undefined
I'm just beginning, the pen's in my hand, ending unplanned

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten

I break tradition, sometimes my tries, are outside the lines
We've been conditioned to not make mistakes, but I can't live that way

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins

Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins

Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins

The rest is still unwritten
The rest is still unwritten
The rest is still unwritten

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Sun vs.The Wind

   {This story continues from the earlier short essay The contest between the Sun and the Wind.}

The Wind bragged to the Sun, "I'm the strongest one! I'm much stronger than you!"

"Really?" said the Sun. "Then I challenge you to a contest of strength. Let us see who can take the coat off that man on the road."

  "Oh, that's too easy!" howled the Wind.
"I'll huff and I'll puff, I'll blow to the brim. I'll RIP his coat off of him! I'll SMASH him against the trees! I'll take his coat off with ease!"

So... The Wind blew harshly down the road. The man clutched tightly to his coat. The Wind grew loud. The Wind grew cold. The shivering man buttoned up his coat. The birds clung to the trees. The world was dust and leaves. But the harder the Wind blew down the road, the tighter the man held onto his coat.
Discouraged, the Wind blustered off with a gust and a swirl.

Then... The Sun peeked out from behind a cloud, warming the air and the frosty ground. The man on the road unbuttoned his coat. He lifted his voice and sang out loud. 
The Sun grew even brighter, and brighter, and brighter, and brighter.

The man began to feel so hot, he took off his coat and sat down in a shady spot. The Wind returned and said to the Sun, 
"I huffed and I puffed and I blew to the brim but I could not force the man's coat from him.. I can't imagine that you were able to either!"

The Wind stopped howling long enough to look down. There was the man, sitting under a tree. Lo and behold! His coat was folded up like a pillow under his head.

"How did you FORCE him to take off his coat!?" the Wind asked in amazement.
The Sun replied, "I did not force him at all. I lit the day! Through gentleness I won my way." 

"There MUST have been a TRICK!" grumbled the Wind.

"It's not a trick," said the Sun. "It's a choice and a skill. Would you like me to show you?" 
The Sun just smiled...

*   *   *
 I love Aesop's fable. Among so many of his stories, my favorite is still the contest between the Sun and the Wind. Since the moment I became a mom, this story has shown me quite different aspects and very clear messages in terms of parenting. 

The moment of waiting has arrived to the final on last Friday. I brought the electric fan, I also brought my Halloween witch wig, and I managed to draw grumpy, boastful, wind face on the hardboard. I did my best to create the mood of the Wind. Kids were excited to see me dressed up as a Wind, and my partner, the Sun, which was acted out by other mom from the class. She and I did our best to dress up as similar to the characters that we were going to play. Her big, bright yellow sun which made from the construction paper, and matching hair band and even sunshine socks were amazingly well prepared.

The main reason that I chose this book for the dramatic play during my daughter's class was that I wanted to observe how kids would react to these two characters. Obviously, these two are strongly contrasted, so it would be easy for them to distinguish. Regardless my name is -in fact- Sun Hee, mostly pronounced Sunny, I chose to play the Wind. It was my chance to play the BAD guy in the play, which I wanted to express the mean side of me without reluctance. However, I had to tone down a little during the act, because I could see the kids' eyes and they sent me a message they aren't fond of bad guy even in a story.

   "So, kids!! I'd like to hear any comments of this story. Who's gonna start?" my daughter's teacher asked questions excitedly after our act was over.
   "I liked when the Sun was brighter and brighter!" the first one answered with shy smile. 
   "I also liked when the Sun peeked out from the clouds!" the second one added with raising hand. 
   "I liked to see when the Wind was bragging!" this comment was made by my daughter. I tried to think positively that my daughter wanted to praise my act, not because she reflected herself into the Wind. 
   "So, who do you think won this contest?" the teacher asked once more. 
   "The SUN!!! The SUN!" every kids were yelling out loud as if they have been waiting to answer this question.

   After acting out this little piece of play in front of 3 to 4-year-old children, it made me think deeply but also it confirmed me certain things that I knew it was right.
  All people -regardless the age, gender or race- gravitate the warmth of others and kindness from others. We are merely a child in eyes of God, and we need to be loved unconditionally. Sadly, the society that we live in isn't the warm place. There are more the Wind than the Sun. And we are taught that we need to endure the Wind and accept its nature.

   Now, here's my question. What kind of person would I like to be? Would I be more like the Wind or the Sun? Well, who said the name is virtue? I need to follow what my name points me to follow, Sun Hee, Sunny.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

An Excerpt from GreatSchool - How Emotional Issues Change as Kids Grow

How Emotional Issues Change as Kids Grow
 An expert talks about the different emotional issues which can affect the way children learn in school.

  In this article, Priscilla Vail, M.A.T. describes how emotional issues differ at various stages of development, and what parents should look for with elementary, middle, and high school students.

 Although emotional hungers remain constant throughout human life, particular needs intensify at different periods. Let's look first at pre-school and elementary school, then at middle school which encompasses pre-and early adolescence, and finally at high school and beyond, the kingdoms of later adolescence and early adulthood.

 Young children progress from learning to love to loving to learn. Their first teachers are, of course, their parents. When that relationship is warm, abundant and trusting, children draw from it deeply, freely, and often. They respond to parental love with new growth, they respond to parental pride with new daring, and they respond to parental trust with new faith in themselves. They also respond to parental disappointment with curdled self-concept, they respond to parental rejection with withered embrace of life, and they respond to parental loss with a subtle or overt death of the heart.
From the lessons of daily life, each child builds an armamentarium of attitudes and assembles a wardrobe of costumes and disguises. Above all, young children fear the loss of parental love. Since they believe "I am what I can make work," their introduction to formal learning, with its first successes or failures, dictates their feelings of worthiness or unworthiness to hold that great and irreplaceable prize, parental love.
Practically, this means parents must exercise extreme caution in starting the child's formal schooling. This decision should not be based on the timetable of the socially correct carpool but on the child's developmental readiness for the tasks presented. Once your child is in school, you as parents must be vigilant about progress or problems in early reading and writing. A tragic casualty of the recent reading wars between whole language and phonics has been that some children have never been shown the method(s) that would help them succeed. Consequently, they feel stupid, unworthy, or both, and often try to hide the extent of their difficulty from their parents, fearing banishment, or withdrawal of love and approval should the truth be known. Consider the added distress when the child has siblings for whom academic tasks are a snap.
If your child has trouble in the early levels of school, get help immediately! Do not wait to see if the child will grow out of it. Prevention is always easier than remediation. Learning differences don't disappear spontaneously, and talent doesn't bloom in a vacuum. If you worry that receiving extra help will make Johnny/Sue feel different, forget it. A child already feels different by virtue of what he can and cannot do. Encourage the discovery of the big message: different can be successful. The child who has learned to love deserves to love to learn.

 Middle schoolers need parents and teachers who reach to the heart, then teach to the head. The pre- or early adolescent has shed a mouthful of baby teeth, acquired big choppers, and wears enormous sneakers. In addition, many of today's middle schoolers have a large vocabulary of sexually explicit terms they fling around with noisy glee. Cumulatively, these milestones may create an incorrect impression of overall maturity and semi-adulthood. But underneath the appearance of sophistication, these kids are still young, unformed, longing for leadership, aching for behavioral guidelines and social limits, and profoundly grateful when a parent has the courage to say "No."
In school, as pediatrician Mel Levine tells us, kids in this age group are guided by one governing agenda: the avoidance of humiliation at all costs. This may mean that a student with weak handwriting or poor spelling, whose written assignments come back covered with red slash marks, may prefer not to hand in written work. The child whose contributions to classroom discussions are greeted with hoots or jeers (or quiet snickers from the power points of the class) will clam up. The kid who reads poorly may disrupt discussion of last night's reading by burping or other wind-driven activities. The kid who understands the hardest math intuitively or who remembers Juliet's speech by heart may conceal intellectual power in order to blend in with the group.
Reach to the heart, teach to the head. One thirteen year old's three favorite Christmas presents were a book of logic puzzles, a nightgown for her American Girl doll, and a blue fur telephone. In the words of the poet Anon:
I ride a yo-yo
In your presence
Thirteen's a year of
Addled essence.
 In high school and beyond, kids reach for two simultaneous and contradictory goals: anonymity and fame. Beyond native intelligence, academic success requires a ready supply of basic skills, organization, the ability to juggle facts and vocabulary from many disciplines, a relatively quiet place to do homework, enough food and sleep, and some free time to ruminate on new information, concepts, and connections. In today's culture many of these are missing before the student even enters ninth grade. Parents need to be aware of these needs and supply them as fully as reality allows.
After-school jobs, athletic practices, and play rehearsals (not to mention learning arcane hobbies for the college application process) teach kids that there isn't enough time. The corollary of this is to reward them for skimming the surface of their work in order to check it off the list. The emotional price tag of skimming is the discounting of deep enjoyment and immersion. Kids who pay this price feel hurried and inadequate.
If average kids fall into these traps, what about those who struggle? Some drop out physically, emotionally, or intellectually. Others, preferring wickedness to invisibility, who hang around to see the action but won't risk competing, are particularly vulnerable to drugs and booze. Still others, fearful and lonely, craving closeness and intimacy, gravitate to sex and gangs. The English poet Stevie Smith says, "I was too far out all my life and not waving but drowning."
Parents of this age group, you need spine, humor, a clear sense of your own values, and a willingness to be temporarily unpopular. You also need to build into family time ample opportunities to enjoy your kid and let that contagion do its benevolent job.
In the words of the poet ee cummings, "I would rather learn from one bird how to sing than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance."
Hold fast to what you know and believe. Be of joyful voice.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Happy Anniversary!

  I'm a married woman. It's been exactly 6 years since my marital status has shown "married".  The man I stood by on the Palais de Justice, and made a vow to the eternal union 6 years ago, now he's sitting right in front of me in a cafe, sketching on his drawing pad while I'm writing this story.

   When we talk about the general anniversary, it's easy to assume for the extravagant event, such as fancy cruise trip, having ultra fancy dinner, or super special outing with your partner. In fact, I have done that. I thought celebrating our anniversary in an unusual base was the right thing to do. After all, it's our THE special day. And it's only once a year event, so why not?

   Having done special event on a special date didn't make me feel special, if I have to tell the truth. It often generated unnecessary stress and financial burden. It seemed to me we needed to show off somehow by doing something special.
   I often get the random questions like, "so, what are you guys planning for the anniversary?" Then, automatically I needed to render the idea something sounds cool. I guess I didn't need to, but I don't know why I felt pressure answering. In the end, it's just random questions. It must have come from pure curiosity, or something close. Then, why did I feel like explaining something cool?

   It happened last year. I answered frankly, "oh! We're going to have a cruise dinner for this year. We decided to do something special." I answered with smile. I really thought we deserved to celebrate with something very special.  
   However, the whole event went the opposite direction than the way I had expected to be. My husband didn't like dancing in the crowds, especially on the floating cruise on Lake Michigan. I knew it beforehand, and I should've known better. But I hoped he would make one special exception for that day, for ME. I teased him, I persuaded him, in the end I threatened him for not cooperating this event. At the end of the date, we had a big argument and I felt triple miserable.

   'This is worse than just regular day. For god's sake, it's freaking anniversary and I need to feel something special. What the hell is this? Do I deserve this kind f abandonment?'

   On the way home, I was extremely sulky, I didn't talk to him. I didn't feel like faking, I didn't want to force myself being a gentle, mellow wife. I needed to send him a message that I was ultimately pissed off. I remember we didn't communicate each other for few day afterwards. There was negative vibe flowing between us. I was mad, and so he was.

   Then few more days later, I realized this whole thing was as ridiculous as it can be. I felt really childish and immature. I realized I was mad just because I didn't get what I wanted. That kind of behavior was easily seen by my 3-year-old daughter then. There was no point of being mean, and grumpy to my faithful husband. I needed to reach out first.

   "Honey, I'm really sorry screwing up our anniversary. I really wanted to feel extra special that day, but seeing you being stubborn in your chair instead of dancing with me on the floor made me explode. I only blamed on you because I thought you didn't care what I wanted. But now I realize I didn't care what you didn't want to, either. Being angry at you on that day was the last thing I wanted, but I still ended up being angry at you. Sorry..." I apologized sincerely that night.
   " I'm sorry, too. I really didn't expect you would be mad like a bull. But you know I'd rather swimming in the freezing lake than dancing on the floor with bunch of people, don't you?" He talked to me seriously while sitting right next to me, holding my hands tightly.

   I realized instantly, and I promised myself to not to forget this next time- all I need in our anniversary is the man I married and the man I love so much, who is right sitting next to me and holding my hands tightly. That was all I needed.

   This year, we decided to do something simple. Of course, after learning hard lesson, we didn't want to screw it up twice. We chose simple restaurant for lunch, went to cafe for a dessert. We also included our daughter for the ice-cream treat, and we went out for the quality date at night. We didn't want to spread fliers that are said "we've been married for 6 years." Instead, we sat down in a small cafe, me writing this story on his iPad, him expressing the ideas of creepy creatures on his sketch book.

   Sharing same moments, meeting our eyes together from time to time, making jokes like old couple, sending text messages while the other is focused, and making our memories together -these are the most precious things to look back when we grow older, and talk about over and over again. We will grow old together and he's going to be always with me, and I will be with him for better or worse.

Friday, November 4, 2011

My addiction to quotes

   I have to admit that I'm deeply addicted to quotes. They make me realize, they make me think twice, they help me understand my life and guide me to the right direction. All I need is to practice what they have told.

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." 
--  Howard Thurman 

 " Let no feeling of discouragement prey upon you, and in the end you are sure to succeed." 
- Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The contest between the Sun and the Wind.

When I was a little girl, I loved reading picture books. Some of books became pretty bad shape because I carried it everywhere and as a result, the edges got worn out, few pages torn apart. Specifically I remember when my favorite book, 백설공주와 일곱 난장이/ Snow White and seven dwarfs got destroyed, I burst out into tears. My favorite page was worn out and I couldn't see the face of Snow White any more. I could imagine it anyway but the book wasn't the same any more.

Since my daughter was born, I decided to read to her everyday and take her to library every week so that naturally she could learn the importance of reading books. As I grew up in a book friendly environment, I strongly believed she also deserves to be surrounded in same ambiance.

Reading books is the best way to introduce the world to the little ones in my opinion. I still remember the lines from the text book in the middle school, which was there are two major experiences in life; direct and indirect. Direct experiences might seem to be effective to learn the lesson but there are potential dangers and obstacles might be waiting for you. If you weren't notified these similar issues beforehand, you might be puzzled and confused, frustrated and depressed, you might declare giving up.
Indirect experiences, however, such as reading books will offer the opportunity to simulate the same situation and make us realize what it would be like. Readers will have better understanding of the situation, possibly able to see the bigger picture and empathize the characters in the story, by using our imagination.
Our imagination is such a gift. Often we don't value much of this huge gift, and sadly we have tendency of taking it for granted.

In my childhood, I used to read lots of fables. Among millions, I always loved reading Aesop's fable. The story was very easy to understand, the character was clearly contrasted, and there were moral lessons underneath. Luckily, my daughter's school topic of the month has been a fairy tale. And I wanted to use this opportunity to enhance her background knowledge. We went to the neighborhood library and filled tons of fairy tale books tightly in the grocery bag. Even librarian was surprised by our one angled selection choice.
I started to read one episode every night to my 4-year-old daughter. Reading a book before going to bed is our ritual. Sometimes when she doesn't behave during the day, I give her serious warning, " If you don't listen to mommy, I'm not going to read a book tonight." Then, she understands.

Tomorrow, I decided to act out the story of The Contest between the Sun and the Wind during her class. Fortunately, one of my daughter's class mom could participate in acting out in front of kids and we planned out for the little entertainment for the little ones. Will they guess that I also acted out a Lady Macbeth in my freshman year? I chose the Wind. I like to play the bad ones, I don't know why. They are interesting characters in a story, in regular life too.

I just finished preparation; a wig, a fan, a wind drawing on a hardboard and my mean looking. I practiced in front of the mirror, reciting my lines in a story. I feel like becoming a child! This feels GREAT! I'll write about the follow-up story tomorrow. I am so excited!


"Strength does not come from winning
Your struggles develop your strength.
When you go through hardship
and decide not to surrender,
that is strength."