Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Le Papillion

Le Papillion 

Sun-Hee Yoon 

A beautiful creature God created,
She's the evidence of God's existence.

She started her life from a tiny egg on a green leaves.
She's born. She has eaten, slept and played.
Life seems to be easy and joyful until the moment she would be in chrysalis.

A protection or a probation,
the comfort or the darkness-
No matter what it was
She needed to stay until she grew older.

Growing up in the darkness,
her wings all folded,
her legs and antennae were feeble,
she must have twitched in the glossy green sac.

Warm sunshine laid on her little room,
It's time to move out, she says.
It's time to spread your wings, she speaks gently.

Slowly she wiggles out of the deadened zone.
She dries her wet wings, stretches her folded legs and antanee.
Now her beautiful wings are nice and shiny.
She is ready to take off.

*   *   *   


Friday, October 5, 2012


When hope would otherwise become hopelessness, it becomes faith. - Robert Brault

The world in a raindrop by Saint Groovus Maximus

Her land suffered from long time persistent drought.
Plants and trees in this land were withered,
Her well was dried up for a long time.

Residents, animals, creatures were parched with thirst.
Looking up to sky, hoping for a little drop of water,
They wished Will it be today? Will it be tomorrow?

They heard Friedrich Nietzsche's echo -
In reality, hope is the worst evils, because it prolongs mans' torments.

All living things in this land refused to listen to that voice.
Their stubborn resistance kept her living.
It was torture. It was heart breaking.
Her lips were cracked and bled.
Would it be today? Will we have any drop of water?

Drip, drop, split, splat,
A droplet of sweet and clear liquid.
Gently, softly wet the barren desert.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


Life swifts from one side to the other, just like putting in a weight scale.
The invisible weight adds on one by one.
The heaviness in our lives pulls us down, down, down.

Trying to defy the gravity,
but this invisible effort doesn't seem to work.
Sad reality, but it is what it is. 

What happened to the balancing point?
Will I ever find it?

Trying to find equilibrium in my life, 
I go to yoga, inhale, exhale, breathe deeply.
I drink wine at dinner, trying to take the burden off from my shoulder.
I read books in search of finding the answer.

Will I ever meet my equilibrium?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Last Wednesday, my daughter and I were on our way home after her school. While I was getting irritated by Chicago traffic, my daughter was happy to eat peanut butter jelly sandwich in the back seat. Once she finished eating, she talked about a boy named, Ramon. I listened to her story.

"Ramon loves to draw. He draws anytime, anywhere," said my daughter. At this point I thought Ramon was one of her classmate. Although I couldn't recall any boy whose name was Ramon.

"One day he was drawing a vase," she continued her story, "but his older brother made fun of his drawing because it didn't look exactly same." Her tone of voice was getting intense. "He was mad and he gave up drawing, then later his little sister told him it was vase-ish drawing. She said it was her favorite."

"Is it something Ms. Brown read in the classroom?" I asked.
"Yes. The title is ish," said my daughter. 

I knew something sparkle had occurred in her mind. Knowing my 5-year-old daughter well, I had to check it out to make myself understood as well. This is ish by Peter H. Reynolds.

What's the story? 
Drawing is what Ramon does. It's what makes him happy. But in one split second, all that changes. A single reckless remark by Ramon's older brother, Leon, turns Ramon's carefree sketches into joyless struggles. Luckily for Ramon, though, his little sister, Marisol, sees the world differently. She opens his eyes to something a lot more valuable than getting things just "right." Combining the spareness of fable with the potency of parable, Peter Reynolds shines a bright beam of light on the need to kindle and tend our creative flames with care.(less)                                                                                   - An excerpt from Goodreads    

Once again I experienced the sheer power of children's book. I found myself very lucky to get to know this beautifully illustrated book, combined with depth of messages. On the corner of my head, I hoped to be read it when I was little. One more thing, its message wasn't for only children. As a parent, as a writer, as a wife, I'm living in 24/7 stress-generated life. I am easily discouraged by negative remark or result. I am trying real hard to make everything "right", but often I ask to myself "what is really right?" 

After a few research about Peter H. Reynolds, I think I'm deeply inspired by his work and his career. Thanks Peter for doing what you are passionate about. 

Copyright to SunHee Yoon
My daughter's "ish" drawing. This makes me happy. :)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Morning hassle

This is my fantasy. The reality is far, far from it!

6:30 a.m. Hateful alarm rings. Mama shut it down before it wakes up everyone. Her footstep is heavy as if dragging shackles around her ankle. Her eyes are still closed. She walks like a zombie.

Mama is tired. Mama wants to sleep five more minutes. No, she can't.
She needs to get up, take shower, pack her daughter's lunch, and get ready for breakfast.

Her consciousness comes back after few minutes of hot shower.
Hurry, hurry, quick! Her mind is busy, her body is slow. Done shower, got dressed, her hair is still damp. 

Fast, fast, time runs out! She boils water for Oatmeal, slices strawberries on the side, packs creamy chicken pasta for lunch. She doesn't forget to write a note in the lunchbox: "Ma Chérie, mommy loves you so much!"

7:00 a.m. Wake up, sweetie pie. Mama calls her daughter softly.
7:05 a.m. Wake up, wake up, honey. Mama adds more strength on her voice.
7:10 a.m  Come on, baby. You don't want to be late! Let's hurry up! Mama's voice gets louder. Her daughter still wiggles under the blanket. She rolls out like a snail, she stands on her feet.     
7:15 a.m. A sleepy head walks slowly to the bathroom.
7:20 a.m She puts on her clothes and socks. She eats warm oatmeal breakfast so s..l..o..o..o..w.
You can't take all your time. You need to hurry up, Mama rushes and pressure up the speed. We need to leave in ten minutes.

They managed to get out of the house by 7:40. Mama should have expected highway traffic. "It's not good, it's not good at all", she murmurs, "slow like a turtle, three miles takes 25 minutes."
Her daughter gets in the school on time. She is happy to see her new friends. Still shy, still hesitant to say, "can I play with you?", but she is content to be in the kindergarten.

Hew...Mama sighs deeply. Back in the car, sitting alone, taking deep breath, mama stares out of the windshield. Grey sky, covered with dark clouds, yet she tries to find where the bright sun hidden.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Charlotte's Web

Summer 2012, I had a grand project for my daughter and myself; we will read a book everyday including chapter books. She started reading at three, and I knew it was time to move on to the next level. Every night we read a book, which becomes our cozy ritual. During bedtime story she points out my mistake and corrects my words or mispronunciation. To my defense I make same old excuses, "English isn't my first language. I don't know all the words or how to pronounce correctly." So far, I didn't receive any refutation.

I have heard of name of the book, Charlotte's Web by E.B. White. But I haven't read English version. (Nor Korean version...) In fact, having acquainted the author E.B. White from One Man's Meat, was good stepping stone for me to embark on reading Charlotte's Web.  

“It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer.”
E.B. White, Charlotte's Web

What's the story?

When Fern convinces her father not to kill the runt pig of the litter, she names him Wilbur and raises him with a bottle. Soon Wilbur goes to live in her Uncle Homer Zuckerman's barn down the road, where she visits him every day. But when she's not there, Wilbur is lonely -- the sheep, cows, geese, and even the rats don't want to play and be his friend. Then he meets Charlotte, a gray spider whose web is in a corner of the barn door, and they become good friends. But soon after, they learn that Wilbur is to be slaughtered next Christmas to make ham and bacon. So Charlotte hatches a plan to make the Zuckermans want to keep Wilbur around forever.                                                                   


It has twenty-two chapters. That means we needed to be persistent and patient. Each chapter has at least seven pages. So we needed roughly a month to read. Some nights we read three chapters until I got thirsty, other nights we skipped to the picture book.

At the end of August, we finished reading Charlotte's Web. It was my own victorious moment, howling 'YES, I MADE IT' in my heart, patting my shoulders. I didn't give up nor rush it through. I managed to keep the momentum of reading chapters so that my girl was still interested in. 

     "Mom...it's too sad," my daughter said after reading the last line of the book, "My heart really hurts and I don't like it. I don't like sad story."
     "I know how you feel," I hugged her and rubbed her chest, trying to heal the pain. "It's ok. The way you feel now is normal, and if you feel like crying you can cry out too."

Seeing her trying not to cry, instead being angry at book, reminded me my immature version. This was one of the coping mechanism that I had developed since I was little. Being grumpy and angry at others made a lot easier to deal with heart-bent situation, and certainly it worked. (Funny thing is lots of people do that too.)

After reading the whole book, I understood the small words - All Ages, at the bottom of the back cover. It wasn't only for the young children, because it also made me paralyzed from its impact after reading. Charlotte's Web was published in 1952, yet after 60 years it still touches many readers' heart. The truth of life says itself.

 “After all, what's a life, anyway? We're born, we live a little while, we die.”
E.B. White, Charlotte's Web

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Post-CPS strike

CPS strike was over yesterday, after seven days of raising pickets, marching downtown Chicago, honking to support teachers. Chicago public school teachers fought for the fair contract and better work conditions, and it's said it was a good fight.

 As a parent of Chicago public school, I'm so glad finally I can send my daughter to school. Luckily I am a stay-home mom, which gives me more flexibility to adjust and navigate this time of uncertainties. I checked the news every hour if there were any negotiation progress. Week two, my temper got irritated, my feeble patience was lost.

There's no question about the correlation between teacher's dissatisfaction and students' learning experience. When a great and professional teacher is threatened by job security, or lack of community support, she or he is less likely put one's time in teaching. Overall, teachers need some kind of appreciation from general public and I think CPS strike was a beacon of urging their roles in the society.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012



Sun Hee Yoon

 When I'm tired, I eat Kimchi. When I'm sad, I eat Kimchi. Tonight I talked to my mom over the phone, and her voice brought me a reminiscence.  As a ritual, I pulled out a jar of Kimchi and had some.  

 Whenever I eat Kimchi, I eat my memories. With one bite, I go back to my mom's kitchen.
I see a girl who's waiting for a newly-made Kimchi of the year. There are more than 5 boxes of Napa cabbage which have been marinated in salt water through the night. Next, I see a bucket of freshly grounded chili pepper that has red velvet texture with yellow seed sprinkled. I smell of minced garlic, chopped spring onion, sliced radish and the essential ingredient - fish extraction. My mom mixes all these ingredients into a thick paste. She uses her bare hands. She used to tell me the best taste of food comes from bare hands and sincere heart. Her magical hands paint the plain Napa cabbage into red leaves one by one, from sturdy outer leaves into soft, tiny bud. These red cabbages remind me the red rose petals. Finally, I see a girl who’s hoping her mom would give a little piece of Kimchi into her mouth.
    “Do you want to taste it?”
    “Yes, yes! Please!”
My mom folds the tiniest and softest layer of kimchi and slided into my mouth with smile. That was the taste of my mom’s love.

  When I visited USA for 2 weeks in 1993, the first thing in my mind as soon as we arrived was having Kimchi. I desperately wanted Kimchi stew with rice for a dinner, but instead I got a fried chicken with Coke. That night, I cried for Kimchi for the first time. I realized how big its existence was in my life. It was the case of wake-up call; when a thing is absent from us, we realize we took it for granted to be there.

  In 2002, I studied abroad in Australia and New Zealand for 6 months. Among 60 members of international exchange students, I wasn’t the only one who was hungry for Kimchi. Someone told me they would go to Korean grocery to buy a jar of Kimchi. It took us more than 2 hours to get to the store, but it was all worth it in the end, especially when we laid a slice of Kimchi on top of steamy ramen noodle.
  We even attended the Korean church while we were studying in New Zealand because we could have decent meal with Kimchi at the end of service. When I didn’t have money to buy a jar of Kimchi, I was longing for Sundays.   

  Yes, I'm a Kimchi folk. I grew up with this strong scented food, and it became part of my identity. Now, I live 5000 miles away from Korean peninsula , yet whenever I smell of Kimchi, I’m home. Kimchi has been an invisible yet strong thread, which connects me with my culture, and it reminds me where I'm from.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Sentimental Mama

Mama sat down on a chair, trying to write about how she feels.
Mama got teary eyes, thinking of her only child, today, off to kindergarten.
Mama tried to act tough, act strong, but no avail.
Mama is sentimental, mama broke into tears.

Will she be fine?
Will she listen to her teacher well?
Will she be shy to make friends?
Will she eat lunch without my guidance?

A butterfly in my stomach woke me up in the middle of night.
It was two a.m., and I looked for my little girl.
She was sleeping soundly, peacefully.
When did she grow so tall, so fast?
I gently grabbed her hand and touched her hair, as I listened to her deep breathing.

Now you will be gone to school most of days.
You will make new friends, meet new teacher, spend your days in the classroom.
You will bring lots of stories to share with me,
I will be there to listen to you, your every single words.

This is how mom feels on a first day of school.
A great sentiment of the reality, our rich memories from the past,
I look at your baby photos, your chubby legs and baby belly, now they are hardly can be found.

My little girl,
I wish you for the best as always.
Have fun at school, enjoy learning, respect others, be confident and be yourself.


copyright Sun Hee Yoon

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Kissing Hand

Last Wednesday my daughter and I went to the Round Up meeting at her school. She is going to kindergarten and she will stay seven hours from Monday to Friday. I've been busy buying school supplies, planning lunch menus, driving a school route. I think I'm ready or am I? 

During the Round Up meeting parents and kids sat on the colorful rug, which was settled in the middle of the kindergarten classroom. A teacher sat on the small chair, and introduced the book, The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn. 

After reading we were asked to move to the craft center and to draw our hands on the construction paper. My daughter and I traced each hands and decorated them with flowers, hearts, and a nail polish as well. A teacher walked around and asked friendly questions to my little girl. She answered without hesitation, "I am a good illustrator and I write a story like my mom." A teacher showed me a big smile, I smiled her back. 

My hand will be placed on top of my daughter's cabinet, so whenever she misses me she will go and touch my hand. Her little hand is already laminated and will be placed in our car rear mirror. 

School starts in less than 36 hours. Although I'm thoroughly done with her prep, I still can't get out of the haze or in a shock that my little baby is going to kindergarten. My girl, however, gave me a strong assurance that she would be fine when the teacher had asked, "are you all going to miss your mom and dad?" 
"No, I'm not going to miss my mom. I'm ready," she answered. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Summer has Come and Gone

Millennium Park

One must maintain a little bit of summer, even in the middle of winter.” 
                                                                                                     ― Henry David Thoreau

Copyright Sun Hee Yoon
Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective at Art Institute of Chicago
Summer reading program : You Are What You Read in Lincoln-Belmont library

Water spray at Fellger Park in Roscoe village

Copyright Sun Hee Yoon
Gold Coast Beach near by Lincoln Park Zoo

Summer has Come and Gone   
By Sun Hee Yoon 

What do we do in summer? 
We go to the park, to the museum, to the beach and to the library. 
We spend our days under the sun, under the shade, in the water, and by the water. 
We love to walk, run, swim and relax. 

What did I do in summer 2012? 
I made memories of life with my mom and my family.
How I missed her! Words can't describe how I feel. 
Sometimes I don't know why I feel that way.
Changes for better, changes are good. 
I can drive now, I can drive highway 90/94. 

What do I remember of this summer?
I remember the heat and humidity of the first week of July.
I remember the burning sand and cooling lake breeze on Montrose Beach.
I remember the taste of juicy watermelon out of the refrigerator.
I remember the sound of cicada's singing on a dark green summer tree. 
I remember the laziness creeping over my head, and left me shame and guilt.
I remember my mom.. her gentle grip over my hand, her voices in the house, her laugh with my little girl.

Summer has come and gone.
My mom has come and gone.
My life in Chicago still goes on.
My life must keep moving forward. 

copyright Sun Hee Yoon
My mom at Art Institute of Chicago

copyright Sun Hee Yoon
Odyssey Cruise dinner with my mom

Friday, June 29, 2012

Theodore Roosevelt

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the triumph of great achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those timid souls who know neither victory or defeat."

--Theodore Roosevelt

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

 The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein is a recent my emotion-breaker. It blew me up like a dynamite. I've been training myself as a tough mom, emotion-sealed parent. My compressed emotions were burst out by this book.  This simple story halted me from my mundane life.

     "Once there was a tree... and she loved a little boy." So begins a story of unforgettable perception, beautifully written and illustrated by the gifted and versatile Shel Silverstein. 
     Every day the boy would come to the tree to eat her apples, swing from her branches, or slide down her trunk... and the tree was happy. But as the boy grew older he began to want more from the tree, and the tree gave and gave. 
     This is a tender story, touched with sadness, aglow with consolation. Shel Silverstein has created a moving parable for readers of all ages that offers an affecting interpretation of the gift of giving and a serene acceptance of another's capacity to love in return.  
-Excerpt from The Giving Tree

The book cover is a lime green, a color of new life.
The blank space on each pages make me to write, to fill the gap.
But I learned, long time ago, a blank space is an artist's active device to the passive readers.
Staring simple black lines in pictures and words, I can't flip the page too fast; I want to live in this space.

For a moment I put down everything in my life.
I jump in this story; I become a little boy, I become a tree.
As this little boy grow older, I mirror myself.
This boy wants more and more, the tree give him again and again.
The boy takes for granted everything the tree gave him, but it doesn't matter to the tree.
She was happy to give; she was happy when the boy was happy. 

I have to confess; I'm an extremely emotional person. The strong waves of feelings sway me from here and there, they pause me from keep moving forward. Life is already hard without emotions, and my sensitive intuition makes my perception tougher to control, to neutralize. While reading The Giving Tree, my effort being tough and resilient was in vain. I fail to numb myself from it, but I'm glad to be failed. Because The Giving Tree satisfied my heart and my soul. 

*   *   *

From Where the Sidewalks Ends by Shel Silverstein

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

My daughter was quiet. It was unusual for her being silent when I ask her to choose for the bedtime story. She picks her book without taking too much time, but tonight she was awfully quiet. I peeked at her and found her looking at the cover image, almost studying it. I knew her questions would follow in a minute, "Mom, how come meatballs fall from the sky? and why this guy carries a spoon, fork and knife in his pocket?" 

Leading her to the bed, I answered "I guess we will figure it out soon." 

I read the title, "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, written by Judi Barrett, drawn by Ron Barrett."
She interrupted immediately, "mom, they have same family name."
"Yes," I took deep breath, "I think they are family members." 

The tiny town of Chewandswallow was very much like any other tiny town except for its weather which came three times a day, at breakfast lunch and dinner. 
     But it never rained rain and it never snowed snow and it never blew just wind. I rained things like soup and juice. It snowed things like mashed potatoes. And sometimes the wind blew in storms of hamburgers. 
     Life for the townspeople was delicious until the weather took a turn for the worse. The food got larger and larger and so did the portions. Chewandswallow was plagued by damaging floods and storms of huge food. The town was a mess and the people feared for their lives. 
     Something had to be done, and in a hurry.         

While we were reading it, I laughed and laughed. I was amazed by these phenomenal ideas. 
     'Wouldn't it be nice if we live in Chewandswallow? I don't need to fuss going grocery and cooking,' I imagined happily. My daughter, on the other hand, was perplexed. 
     "Mom," she frowned," if Orange juice falls from the sky, it's gonna be sticky everywhere. And if a hotdog falls from the sky, what would I eat? I don't like a hotdog." 

I didn't answer. I was having a good time imagining all the nonsense. I kept laughing and laughing out loud. 
   "Look, honey," I giggled, "can you imagine Gorgonzola cheese falling from sky? Can you imagine the smell? What about overcooked broccoli in a romantic dinner? Brussel sprouts and peanut butter with mayonnaise for a birthday!! Isn't it so funny?"  

  For the first time, I laughed out loud just like a kid during the bed time story. I really enjoyed reading a picture book along with my little daughter. It was a refreshing fact that I can have fun in her story time. It was a moment of epiphany that I don't need a fancy gadget to be entertained. I had a wonderful time reading a children's picture book.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Kid's drama begins Mom's drama

--Sun Hee Yoon

Oh, no, I hate drama.
I do not want any drama.
Please, can I be spared from it? I guess not.

A mom from my daughter's class came over me,
She said my daughter stuck her tongue out,
when the teacher was not looking.
She heard it from her daughter.
Either it is true or not, she came up to me and spoke.

How do I feel about that?
Annoyed! Aggravated to death!

What is your intention, woman?
What do you want?
Are you trying to label my daughter as a mischievous?
Oh, right, I heard you yelled out loud to everyone
My girl is a bully, when I was not around.

What's your purpose?
Does your daughter behave so well?
Is that why you come up to teach me a lesson?
You think I am not doing my job properly? Is this why?

I do my best to raise my child here,
So do you. We are in a same boat, woman.
Don't flip your finger to other mom just because of your daughter's tattletale.
I respect you as much as I want to be respected.
So why don't you drop that drama?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Why the Wild Things are Mean?

When I heard this book for the first time, I thought 'hmmm..I heard about it somewhere.. oh! the movie!' And time passed. I am easily distracted just like my daughter. And few weeks ago, I came across the article about Maurice Sendak, from New York Times. I still didn't think of reading his book. I thought it would come across again if I need to read. Few days ago, I was researching children's book list, and Where The Wild Things Are was one of the must-read. I realized it was time to check it out from the library.

Max dons his wolf suit in pursuit of some mischief & gets sent to bed without supper. Fortuitously, a forest grows in his room, allowing his wild rampage to continue unimpaired. The wild things--with mismatched parts & giant eyes--manage somehow to be scary-looking without ever really being scary; at times they're downright hilarious.

 --Excerpt from Where The Wild Things Are, Goodreads

My daughter was interested in the illustrations of Where The Wild Things Are. 
"Mom," she asked, "why do the wild things look scary and act mean?" 

"Hmm..," I hesitated and answered, " that's a good question. I need to think about it." 

Can anybody answer this question? Why the wild things are mean? Does every wild things are mean? Are they born like this? Do we stereotype on everything, everyone? Is it our mere perception? Hmm.. 

What is your opinion?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

"Make Them Be Good!" - Tough Chicks

Did I ever mention that I love to go to the library? I do, I really do love going to the library. It's almost like I'm scheduled to a blind date. (Shhh.. my husband would not like this name calling.)

Few days ago, I checked out nearly twenty books from my library, Lincoln-Belmont. Tonight my little girl and I read a book, Tough Chicks by Cece Meng.

From the moment Penny, Polly, and Molly hatch from their eggs , the whole farm knows they are truly tough chicks. They wrestle worms, rope roosters and are often found under the hood of the tractor. All the other animals, and even the farmer himself, tell Mama Hen to make her chicks good. "They are good!" Mama Hen always replies. But could her chicks be too loud, too independent, and too tough?         
--An excerpt from Tough Chicks

It has adorable illustrations. These cute chicks kept making me laugh. My daughter kept pointing out the colorful images and funny face expressions. The message of this book was very clear to me from the beginning.

"Make them be good!", "make them be good!" call the animals. "They are good!" Mama Hen clucked. But sometimes even she worried. When I read this page, I had to pause a little and wondered if this story was about me. It made me think. It was very similar portrait of what I have been dealing with.

My daughter came up with lots of WHY questions. I tried my best to answer, but there were things I just couldn't explain why Mama Hen was worried so much. I'm worried a lot just like Mama Hen. I know my girl is good, but people keep saying "make her be good!" Whenever I'm stressed out, it's hard to communicate with others. Tough Chicks, however, demonstrated it precisely with a sense of humor and the playful illustrations. I understand why it was taped "best of best" by our local librarian. She knows good books!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Blogathon is over, and now what?

The feeling of accomplishment, this is great! No pain, no gain! Easy comes, easy goes! These are what people say. Surely a pain is not what we seek for, but it is a necessary evil. Without going it through, we can't really understand the true taste of an accomplishment. 

For a month of May, I was determined to post everyday on my blog. And I did. Although I have to admit that I wasn't fully prepared for this challenge. I didn't know how to pre-write, nor did I follow the theme. In fact, I didn't know what my theme is. I was just writing without much planning. 

By the mid-May I realized the inconsistency of my blog stories. I started to compare with other bloggers. I envied the well-developed blogs with all little cute designs. I envied the two-digits followers. I admired the skillful blogging rendering. Often I wanted to leave a comment, but I couldn't carry on my courage. Once I felt like leaving a note, I worried the critical voices about my English usage. It might sound funny because I write my stories in English in my blog, but I couldn't write on other blogger's property. I didn't want to be an intruder with a broken English. A self-criticism is my own obstacle, and I often fail to jump over.    

A little by little, step by step, I am getting comfortable communicating with others in online. At least that's what I like to believe so. I start to twitter. I reach out to people, who's got the same interest with me. I long for an intellectual connections, and sometimes an emotional ones too. I'm learning new things everyday. I'm amazed by hundreds, thousands of talented people. I secretly wish I could be the one, too.

May is gone, June has come. I'm still writing, I'm still blogging. I'm still yearning to be connected. Still looking for the inspirations I am listening to others. And...I want my voices to be heard. The hope is still there, and I'm not going to let it go. Untiring perseverance will lead me where I need to be. Just tonight, I'm going to sit still and celebrate my own victory even if no fanfare can be heard. I did my best, and I made it through. Good job Sun Hee, you did it!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bed time Stories

Every night I read a book to my daughter. Bedtime stories routine started since she was a toddler. Since I became a mom I had numerous wishes for my little one, but one particular thing was for her getting close to books. I wanted to install the habit of reading books in her.

copyright to Sun Hee Yoon
My girl at age 1

When I moved to Chicago in 2007, I didn't know anyone and I didn't know where to go. For several month I stayed at home with my little baby and I noticed in me being scared of outer world. The world out of the house didn't seem so safe. Or, I was in a postpartum depression, which converted me into an introvert. All I know now is I was extremely lonely and isolated. 

When the weather got warmer in spring 2008, I started to feel better. I pulled out flower print blouse from the drawer and white pants to match with it. I decided to discover the neighborhood or simply take a walk around the block. I pushed the stroller, my daughter being sit tightly, her favorite toys and snacks on the stroller tray. I went out. Getting out the door was a big step, but once I got out I became more ambitious. I wanted to walk further. So I pushed the stroller about one mile, and I stood in front of the neighborhood library. 

My neighborhood library, Lincoln-Belmont

When I grew up, in a little town in South Korea, there wasn't a section for children's book. In my memory, the library is a place where you could find an ultimate silence and stillness. It was scary and dark, very small windows on top of the dark green painted cement wall and there wasn't any sun lights in the reading room. (The smell..the sound.. I could write those on a next story.)

*     *     *  

In May 2012, I still read books to my 4-year-old daughter at night. It's our intimate time. We lie on the bed, I lean on the piled pillow, she snuggles into my arms, and we read the title and an author and an illustrator's name. Then we flip the first page. 

Last night, we read very interesting book. 

The Journey of Oliver K. Woodman

My daughter enjoyed following Mr. Woodman's journey across the country. In fact, I learned quite a lot from it too. Speaking of bed time stories, I might start the children book's review blog. Hmm.. I'm getting excited for my next project! :)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Sensitivity Training

Sensitivity Training
By Sun Hee Yoon

In this dry land,
Emotions are neglected.

People want to know about what you know
Rather than how you feel.

Feelings are under the surface,
people live under the mask.

No matter how we disguise,
We are same human.
Your heart is thumping right now just like mine.
Your soul is searching for something just like mine.

I am a sensitive person,
Here I keep training my sensitivity.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My Little Artist

"Mom, look at this!" my little girl called me in a very proud voice. While I was doing dishes, she pinched out PlayDoh little by little and decorated on the human body template. She chose her favorite color, pink. 

My first reaction was 'wow, can we use PlayDoh on the paper?' Apparently, yes.

I started to wonder where this idea come from? How did she figure that out? I was simply amazed by her creative mind.

She is a natural story teller. Sometimes I wish to dictate whatever comes out from her little lips. Her mind is still obsessed in princesses and prince in a fairytale. These days she tends to mix up the idea of princess rivalry and their emotional tension. The clear distinction between "good" and "bad" is very interesting.

I like to ask her questions. Although I don't expect any precise answers, I have my intentions- her way of thinking and her logical development. Often her unlimited imagination and unexpected vocabulary blow my mind. I sit next to her once my chores done. I like watching her little hand choosing different pencil colors, drawing confident lines on the paper. I ask questions like "why this girl's face is bigger than others?" Then, she goes without hesitation, "because she's mad. When people gets angry, their faces get bigger and bigger like a balloon."

I love her unbiased observation. I love her pure imagination. But most of all, I admire her ability to express her own thinking without hesitation. Her innocence and boldness, I want to cherish.

Monday, May 28, 2012


Trying something new is fun.
Learning new stuff stimulates my brain activity.
Thanks to Blogathon,
I try a Wordle for the first time.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

My Big Artist

Art is not what you see, but what you make others see. -- Degas

My husband is an artist. He loves his career and I like he pursues his dream without losing the passion. Technically he is an employee of the biggest entertainment enterprise in U.S. He creates and supervises the game characters in the most brutal fighting game, which is famous for its "brutality". When this game was released last year and scored a huge success, I wrote something intimate as a personal essay.

My husband's creation, Sub-Zero

Compassion, understanding and patience were not my type. I was more like greedy, tricky, impatient person. I never had a desire to be a good person, nor a bad one. Since I married, however, I wanted to be a good wife, a kind of loving and caring wife in a folktale. The realistic problem was I didn't know how to be one. So, I had to learn from the beginning.

Supporting what my husband does for a living has familial complications. It requires a lot of time from him to accomplish his project. He stays late at work sometimes to meet the deadline. When he gets overly stressed, depressed, or demotivated, his emotional strings land on a family. He's not perfect, nor am I. Then we repeat same quarrels and our hurtful words. Anger, resentment, argument and the regret. I needed to learn to be happy together from zero. 

His pencil drawing at Vitruvian Fine Art School

Sometimes I question about the idea of marriage. Why loving each other isn't enough? What's the "right way" to love each other? What's the secret method in the marriage? Marriage is the result of falling in love from one to another, but after few years the initial love form slowly changes. Maintaining healthy marriage is not so easy as it seems, but I still try to make it one. Last year I had an epiphany of my marriage. I realized I had been so stubborn and I almost tried to change my husband to a stereotype married man, ignoring his unique qualities. I was ashamed of myself.

Now I respect a lot more of his art work. We discuss more about his ideas and concepts of drawings. I encourage him to attend illustration and art related conventions. He comes home with full of inspirations and motivations. He is happy then I am happy too. 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Telescope and Microscope

   My mom used to lecture me the difficult life lessons in a very easy way to understand. I loved how she describe and compare things with simple objects. As I get older, these messages echo in my ears strongly than ever.

   "Sun Hee, in your life, you need to have a telescope and a microscope. If you only have a telescope, you might run after where you want to go or what you want to achieve, but you will miss small but precious things under your feet. And if you only have a microscope, you might focus on things happening right next to you but you won't be able to find where you need to go in a long run. You need to keep these two tools and use them well in the right time."

   I didn't understand fully at that point, but I thought it was very cool idea, imagining myself as an explorer and have two key equipments in my both hands. As a teenager, being ambitious and adventurous, surely needed to take a note from my mom. Since then I started to carry an imaginary telescope and a microscope in my head.

   Surely soon enough, I got to taste the true flavor of reality. High school dramas including non-stop academic exams, the unsatisfying test score, endless effort to keep up in the survival competition against my fellow friends, and being left all alone.

   In my early teenage years, I earned the important life lesson which was "life is lonely journey." No matter how hard you try to find a true friend, the real friend is, in fact, yourself. Being social and outgoing person I was, but I had to learn how to NOT to depend on friends when it comes to a major life decision. Friends are wonderful. Please don't misunderstand me. I'm longing to have friends all the time, because I believe true friendship make our lives richer and joyful. That is certain thing. However, I've found the more I depend on friends, the more I expect from them and in return I got often crushed by disappointment. And there flowed the unspoken resentment and dissatisfaction between friendship, and it never became same as it was at the beginning.

   Wanting to be someone special to someone is very basic human instinct, I believe. We are lonely no matter what we do, no matter where we are. Perhaps that's why we are hungry to get together all the time. We need to be asked how we've been doing, we need to be watched, we need to be touched, and we need to be heard our voices somewhere, somehow.

   With my telescope and microscope, I'm starting to enjoy my solitude. I have learned hard way to switch these two instruments, and I'm getting comfortable with it now. I always knew my mom knows what she's talking about. Her voices and wisdom have become my very core comfort throughout my lonely journey.