Wednesday, September 29, 2010

*the* incident.

so, here's how it went down with the waitress at the korean restaurant:

christy, sandra, and i were enjoying our dinner and conversation when one of the waitresses walked by, trying to catch my eye and attention. peter and i eat at this restaurant on a semi-frequent basis, and peter comes often with other members of the church staff, so a good number of the waitresses are familiar with us.

i politely bowed my head with an "anyoung ha sae yo" and she said hello back and said in korean,

"oh, you gained a lot of weight! are you pregnant?"

i'm pretty sure i turned a nice shade of red and i quickly responded, "no."

and her response? "so, how many months along are you?"

by this time, not only was i red in the face, but i was totally seeing red. lay off, lady! i looked at her, said, "i'm NOT pregant." and quickly turned away from her and back to the comfort of my food and friends.

i was so angry, but had to hold it together because a) i was in public and b) i was in the company of lovely ladies that know me, but don't *know* me quite yet and i didn't want them to think i had anger management issues. ;)

comments like this have been a source of vivid pain, and to be on the receiving end of a double whammy was rough.

okay, so yes, i've gained some weight in the past year. i attribute it to three things: 1. my slowing metabolism (hello, 30!) 2. the anxiety and distress of waiting in this adoption process and 3. dc's snowmageddon 2009/2010.

sure, i should really make a better effort to shed some of this extra padding. but, still, HOW RUDE.

and people, it's 2010, don't ask someone if they're pregnant unless they're going into labor. in front of you. seriously.

now before we get all cujo on this lady, let me explain something to you. korean people are rude. especially when it comes to issues like weight.

wait, wait, hear me out.

and understand that i say that in the way that i can make fun of my family, but you can't. the same way you can make fun of your family, but i can't.

and understand that i'm saying this based on my upbringing here in the US as a korean american. i've only been to korea once (when i was 9) and my parents have been here for 40 years. so really, i guess i'm saying that koreans i've met are rude. and not all koreans, mostly first generation older koreans. and again, this is what i'm saying based on my experience.

and the thing is, they don't think they're being rude.

i think there are two very distinct reasons why they act this way.

the first is because in relatively recent history, korea was a war-torn country. food was sparse and people were very skinny and often malnourished. so, when someone commented on your weight gain, it was, in a sense, a way of them recognizing that you were doing well. granted we are far from this now, but i think some of the older generation has this mentality still ingrained in their minds and for some, always will.

the second reason is that koreans have a lot of national pride, and with this comes the feeling that all koreans are connected. in other words, they are all fellow countrymen, and even family. so, much like your family might criticize you for something, it's not unusual for one (older) korean person to say to another: "wow, you gained some weight!" or "man, your skin looks bad!" and other gems of the like.

case in point? a few weeks ago, my mom and dad had a housewarming party and several of my mom's friends saw a picture of my parents on a date when they were in college (my dad has it displayed in his office -- isn't that sweet??). after seeing the picture, each of my mom's friends came over (on SEPARATE occasions) and said variations of the following: "gosh, you looked so great when you were skinny! you should try to lose 10 pounds. you'd look so much better."

nice, right?

so, while i was definitely fuming and hurt, i had to take the waitress' comments with a grain of salt. and while the hurt was very real, i know that her intentions were not cruel. but, i'll say it again,


oh, and p.s. bingsoo or bingsu is a yummy concoction of shaved ice, ice cream, flavored syrup and different toppings. there are different types of bingsoo and the traditional kind is served with sweet red bean paste, fruit, and mini pieces of rice cake (mochi). i like strawberry bingsoo -- shaved ice, strawberry ice cream, strawberry syrup, strawberries and mochi pieces. yum-o!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

blog buddies!

last night, i had the great privilege of meeting up with two blog buddies. yes, i'm going to say it again...i love the blogosphere! i'm so thankful to have made such great connections with so many amazing women and even more thankful that 2 of them live nearby! (though i wish all of my blog buddies lived nearby...i joked with kelly that we could start our own school if we all lived in the same area!)

sandra and i had already met twice, but this was our first time meeting christy. the great thing about meeting blog friends for the first time is that you already feel like you kind of know each other, so there's little of that meeting-someone-new awkwardness. plus, both sandra and christy are pretty darn cool, so if anyone was awkward, it was probably me. i can be awkward sometimes.

we met at a local korean restaurant and chatted away over some yummy korean food:
(oh, yes, i am totally that annoying girl that takes pictures of everything -- sorry if i embarrassed you, sandra and christy!)

we then headed over to a korean bakery where we partook in this yumminess:
strawberry bingsoo, how i love thee.

it was wonderful to be with other mommas who *know* what this process is like. what was exciting is that each of us are in different stages of our process: sandra brought home her little man last spring, we're waiting for our travel call, and christy is waiting for her referral. we were each able to share about our experiences throughout the different milestones and encourage each other about what was to come.

aside from a distressing conversation i had with the waitress -- a full post on this to come, don't you worry your pretty little head off ;), it was just a lovely evening.

love to you, sandra and christy! can't wait to do it again soon!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

nerd fest!

this saturday, we headed downtown to the national book festival. it's something i'd always wanted to go to, but never got around to actually attending. this year, when i found out who was going to be there, i decided we *had* to be there. curious to see who was the driving force behind this decision? read on!

we got to the festival and it was packed!
that's me and my sister in the lower left corner. (ugh, i hate pictures from the back!)

the festival was held right on the national mall just in front of the capitol.

we got there early because one of the people i HAD to see was speaking at 10:30. i was so, so, SO excited to hear her.

want to know who it was?

is the suspense killing you yet?

i know, i'm cruel.


people, i met the pioneer woman.

she was hilarious and warm and just as amazing as she is on her blog and in her cookbook. if you're not familiar with her, you *need* to start reading her site. her posts are awesome and recipes are amazing.

i even asked her a question.
i asked about her memoir, black heels to tractor wheels, that is in the works to be made into a movie. so cool. imagine, starting a blog one day, growing a readership that results in 18 million hits a month, publishing a best-selling cookbook based on the blog, being asked to write another book based on a series of blog posts and then having that book made into a movie! crazy.

i actually did meet her, but you'll have to keep reading to find out how that happened. ;)

after ree spoke, we went to stand in line for mem fox's book signing. she was the other reason i went. judith viorst, rosemary wells, and katherine paterson were some authors whom i love and respect and were also present, but i just adore mem fox. there is just something magical about her storytelling. her books are always favorites in my classroom.

i bought new copies of these books to add to choi boy's library and brought them to have mem sign them.

we waited in line for a good 30 minutes. and it was hot. the kind of gross, humid, nasty hot that you only get in dc. it was 95 degrees. hi, it's fall...apparently, the weather in dc didn't get the message.

we waited and waited and waited some more. all to be turned away! boo! i was so sad. seriously, crushed. so crushed that we had to go eat lunch to make me feel better.

amazing pizza and chopped salad did make me feel better.

i even managed a smile.
(sidenote: isn't my sister gorgeous? we don't really look alike -- i look like dad, she looks like mom, but you can tell we're sisters because we both have those weird cheekbones that make us look like we're hiding an egg under each cheek when we smile. really, look closely. you'll see what i mean.)

we headed back to the festival so i could at least hear mem speak.

she was wonderful. she told us about growing up in africa and being the only white child in her school. a school that met under a tree and where she learned to write using her finger and tracing letters in the earth. amazing!

she read my favorite book of hers, whoever you are, and told us that she would read this everyday to her prematurely-born grandson while he was in the incubator.
i totally cried.

while i was listening to mem, peter very kindly waited in line for me at ree drummond's book signing. isn't he nice?

this time, i was able to get my book signed. yay!

now, i've met/encountered a fair number of famous people in my day: shaq, carson daly (i went to TRL when i was interning at noggin in college), a good number of the mtv veejays back when there were veejays (noggin folks ate at the same cafeteria as the mtv, vh1, nickelodian folks), john mayer, steven curtis chapman, guilana depandi, paige davis, bob costas, the today show hosts, and others that i can't remember right now. but for some reason, i totally geek out the most when i meet authors.

i think it's because i feel connected to them like they're my people. and i just love them for what they do. i've met ann m. martin and jane yolen (they're alums of my college) and one day in college, i ran in to eric carle while buying lip balm. my college town was home to lots and lots of authors, and mr. carle could regularly be seen walking around town. i almost fainted when i met him. he is SO cute!

because of this, when i met ree and had her sign my cookbook, i was so excited and nervous. look how ridiculous i look talking to her.
i'm like a child at disney world.

here's the cool part. volunteers from the junior league were running the book signings and they were taking pictures for their newsletter. out of all the people in line, they asked me and peter if we wouldn't mind taking a picture with ree for the newsletter. peter said no, thinking they were asking if we wanted to subscribe to the newsletter, but i cut him off and emphatically answered, "yes! we'll do it! yes!" which is funny, because the girl said she asked us because she needed pictures featuring men, not just women, so, as peter reminded me last night, *he* was the reason we got chosen. thanks, honey!

so, yes, we had a special photo taken with ree. she was asked to come to the front of the table (which she didn't do for anyone else!) AND she told me that she loved my necklace. twice. :) (confession: i bought that necklace for $4.17 at old n*vy.)

unfortunately, the photo i have of that moment is really unflattering, for me at least. i'll show you because i love ree and i love you but, you can see what bad posture i have, how the summer of eating has really taken a turn for the worse, and how gross and sweaty we were.


but, definitely a cool moment, unflattering and all!

we didn't get to see all that the festival had to offer because it was absurdly hot and we were pooped from walking around in the heat. we do hope to be back next year, though, with choi boy in tow! if you haven't been to the book festival you should put it on your list - so worth it!

nerds rule!

Friday, September 24, 2010

going green.

i know i write about how much i love the blog community a lot. like, all.the.time. but, really, i do love it here. i'm constantly amazed that my friends here in blog world not only take the time to read my random drivel, but that you also take time to care. thank you for walking with me, laughing with me, ugly-crying with me and for caring for choi boy. i can't wait to tell him about all the people all over the country that cared and prayed and waited for him to come home!

i know people are all, "the internet is making people become socially inept," but i disagree. if anything, blogging and the internet has grown my heart and brought me new friends that have taught me lots and made *me* care and laugh and ugly-cry.

so, all that's to say {cue sappy moment music ala my former favorite show, full house}, thanks for being my friends. i know i sound like a dork, but i just had to say/write something, 'cause i was feeling so...
aw shucks after reading all of the love you left me. :)

okay, moving on. {and wiping away tears}

here's something i'm excited about this week: we are working on choi boy's nursery!

we were initially going to wait 'til we got our EP notification, but decided to move forward because my dear, dear friend, vic was coming to paint this week.

have i told you about my friend, vic? she's the bomb diggity. she and i shared a classroom for 3 years and i just love everything about her. she is one of the most caring, genuine, and loving people i know.

the moment we got our match, vic declared that she was coming to paint choi boy's room as a gift to us. she is REALLY talented at this and, in fact, used to run a side business where she'd paint and do all sorts of cool techniques and finishes. you should see her house -- every room is painted in a different style.

we chose to paint the room in a light green. we chose green because it's neutral, so we can use it for a choi girl one day (i hope, i hope, i hope!). also, we've heard that green has a calming effect and prepares the body for sleep. true? we'll see. ;)

it's called "crisp green," and it's from the p*ttery barn kids paint collection. it's a very subtle green and we decided to mix it up a bit and do some striping with flat and satin paint.

so, vic came early this week to paint and did a little each day.

first she taped:

then she did some edging:

then she painted the whole room in the flat paint:

then she did some very impressive math and taped the room to prepare for the stripes. i didn't get a picture of this because i was at school, but here is what the room looks like after she painted the stripes in the satin paint:


and here's my vic!

i love's clean and subtle and just lovely.

and i love my vic.

next up, the crib!

p.s. i know i said no more piper pics this month, but i had to share this:
somehow, piper ended up with a green paint spot on her back. no one has any idea how it got there! i swear, she's part ninja.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

ode to linus.

there's something irresistably cute about a child and his blankie, isn't there?

within the last few weeks, we were gifted with not one, but two very special blankets for choi boy.

the first was given to us by my mom. my parents recently moved, and as they were settling into their new digs, my mom found this wrapped package and handed it to me. what was inside, you ask? MY baby blanket! my mom had carefully saved it for 30 years, waiting til the moment she could pass it on to me to use with my little one. so special.

she was a little teary eyed when she gave it to me, telling me that all these years she had saved it hoping to bring it to the hospital after i had delivered a baby so i could bring the baby home in the blanket...she said that she hopes choi boy will still be able to use it even though he is not an infant, and i assured her that he would and it would still be incredibly special.

SO special.

want to see it? (keep in mind, it's from 1980, so it's not the most modern or cool looking blanket!)
it's satin-y and very soft and embroidered with (slightly scary) little bunnies and ducks.

slightly scary bunny close-up:

it was also (slightly) smelly (it's 30 years old!), but it's nothing a good wash and fe*breeze can't fix!

the other blanket was given to us by my principal. she is, in a word, amazing. so caring and such a great leader. i came into my office and found a large box on my reading table with a note telling me to come see her. i brought the box down to her office and opened it and found this:
she told me that every child needs a spot (totally) and a blankie. :) and then she told me that she had been working on it for several months and each time she sat down to work on it, she would pray for choi boy with every stitch. praying that he would be filled with joy and wisdom; that he would be healthy and loving. and let me tell you, when i heard that, i lost it. like, full on ugly-cry in the middle of her office.

because you see, her gift came just moments after i got some ugly news and i SO needed something to lift my spirits. and, it also happened to be choi boy's birthday, which she had no idea about. it was such a God ordained moment.

i can't wait to wrap choi boy up in this blanket and cover him with these stitches that were carefully prayed over.

so blessed.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

lists. {september iclw}

happy iclw! for this month's iclw post, i'm going to share some lists with you. these lists were inspired by oatmeal. yup, oatmeal. you see, it was something i h.a.t.e.d. as child, but now? mmmmm...

okay, here we go.

things i hated as a child and LOVE as an adult:
  • oatmeal. they used to feed this to us in kindergarten (they gave us breakfast at school), and i would literally gag on it. it tasted like cardboard and was a gross grey/beige color. now? yum! the texture is still a little weird, but it just tastes hearty, you know? plus, brown sugar and blueberries on top make it even better.
  • watching the news. so boring as kid, so necessary now. fun fact: my preschool/kindergarten best friend's mom was the evening news anchor for our local (new york city) cbs. cool, huh?
  • broccoli. in general, i was not a veggie-loving kid. but as i got older, i really learned to enjoy my vegetables, especially broccoli. i could eat a whole plate of steamed broccoli as a meal. so could my dog, piper. she's weird.
  • sweatpants. i was one of those annoying girls that loved to wear frilly dresses all.the.time. i would scoff when my mom pulled out a pair of sweatpants and instead decide to prance around the house and sleep in my frilly petticoat slip. now? changing into sweatpants is the first thing i do when i get home.

  • things i LOVED as a child and don't anymore:
  • fun dip. remember this? loved it as a kid, but now it reminds me of chalk or that white stuff they use to mark your alterations. nasty.
  • twinkies. i used to be able to eat an entire box of these. looking at one now makes me nauseated. my high school chemistry teacher told us you could meaure a twinkie's shelf life with carbon dating. apparently, this is an urban legend, but still, the fact that this legend even exists is enough to keep me away from them.
  • full house. i used to live for this show. seriously. i would bargain with my mom so i could watch it every week. watching reruns now makes me seriously roll my eyes and groan. oh, the cheese! and i am sorry, but those twins (you know the ones) canNOT act.
  • trampolines. what kid doesn't love a trampoline? but, now, they really frighten me. i have scary visions of my falling off and cracking my head open. plus, they make me sick with all that bouncing. i sound like such an old lady.

  • things i'll never LOVE:
  • running.
  • zucchini.
  • clowns.
  • scary movies.
  • cleaning.

  • things that i always have and always will LOVE:

  • ice cream.
  • reading.
  • chocolate chip cookies.
  • sleeping.
  • clementines.
  • dresses. :)
  • what would you add to your lists?

        Sunday, September 19, 2010

        a clarification.

        i'm glad piper made you laugh. :) i've long since realized that that is piper's role in our lives. some dogs were born to comfort, others to lead, still others to be heroes. well, our dog was born to be laughed at. oh, we totally love her to bits, but we spend a lot of time laughing at her. not with her. at her. she doesn't seem to mind, though.

        i do have to clarify, for the sake of piper's dignity and pride, that she is not a lab. not a full labrador retriever anyway. we adopted from an awesome local rescue 3 years ago when she was about 10 weeks old. we were told that she was almost certainly part black lab, and most likely also beagle or some sort of hound. after learning more of what the beagle is like (read: crazy independent with minds of their own), we think that's probably what she's mixed with.

        here are some pics of her non-black-lab traits:
        if you look closely, she has two different colored eyes. her right eye is the normal brown color of black labs. her left one is the golden-y/hazel color of beagle eyes, and it also has that weird third eyelid. i call that one her edward cullen eye.

        lab eye.

        edward cullen eye.

        she also has a white beard and a white strip on her neck:

        when we were deciding what to name her, peter kept coming back this white part and wanted to name her oreo or, wait for it:

        as in CREST WHITE STRIPS.

        i know, right?

        whatever she is, we love her...and here's my one plug: adopt a pet! :)

        okay, that's all.

        i promise, no more gratuitous pics of piper.

        at least not this month. ;)

        Friday, September 17, 2010


        thanks for all your input! i'm going to be optimistic, too and just hope hope hope it's good news!

        okay, i need some frivolity now.

        remember when i said that piper's attempts at fetch were ridiculous? that it's so ridiculous that it has to be called "fetch"?

        for your enjoyment, here is proof in pictures:

        at first, piper really looks like she's going to try and play a good game of fetch. she waits for you to throw,
        then takes off!.
        she runs at her full speed but is on the slow side because she has these long, gangly, awkward-middle-school-girl legs that she never fully grew into. she's always trailing scout, whom we happened to be watching over the weekend:
        on the occasions when she actually gets to the ball, she picks it up and excitedly runs off IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION FROM YOU. then, she settles down to enjoy quality one on one time with the ball.
        what exactly does she do? she proceeds to destroy the ball, piece by piece, layer by layer:
        she stops to take a breather and let others admire her handiwork:
        which we do by sighing, picking up the pieces and swearing for the bazillionth time to not waste our money on non-indestructable dog toys/balls:



        Wednesday, September 15, 2010

        news -- good? bad? you decide.

        yesterday i got some more news from our dossier specialist. remember how in august, she told us that we were the last of 8 families waiting for visas this year? well, we were initially told that the next group would go into the ministry after the august group came out. however, the news from our specialist yesterday was that a smaller group of 3 families were allowed to be submitted to the ministry at the end of august before the first group got out. does this all make sense?

        this means that we are now a part of the 5 remaining families (and yes, 5th out of 5 if we're counting). we now have to wait for the group that went into the ministry at the end of august to be processed and out before the next group can move forward.

        honestly, i don't know what this means. i don't know if the fact that the ministry took a second, smaller group concurrently means that the government is trying to move forward quickly, or if it means that we are now delayed even further because now we have to wait for this second group to be processed, versus being lumped together in a larger group with all 8 final families.

        what do you think? am i even making sense right now?


        my heart is hoping it's good news, but my head is saying maybe not...

        next week is chuseok, the korean thanksgiving. and i am hoping and fervently praying that our baby will be home by our american thanksgiving.

        Monday, September 13, 2010

        the last of the birthday shenanigans.

        this is my fourth post about choi boy's birthday. fourth! and the boy isn't even home yet! can you imagine what the recaps will be like for his actual party when he's actually here? heehee ;)

        so, after the good, the bad, and the ugly, there was the food. that *totally* deserves a post of its own, right?

        i thought so. that's why we're all friends here, because we fully appreciate the beauty of a post about food.

        after feeling crummy from receiving the ugly news from our program assisant, we sucked it up, put on our happy faces, and headed out to meet our family at one of our favorite local korean restaurants. once we got there, saw our family and anticipated good eats, we were instantly happier. good food always makes me happy. always.

        we had some yummy banchan (i love banchan. sometimes, i could just eat banchan with rice as my entire meal):
        i had some sushi (i know, not korean, but too yummy to pass up!):
        peter had galbi dolsot bi bim bop:
        my sister's vegetarian dolsot bi bim bop:
        my dad ate an entire fish by himself:
        my mom, aunt, and uncle ate some other dishes, but by this point, i was too engrossed in my food to take more pictures. you understand.

        after dinner, we took some group pictures outside. i hastily made signs for us to hold in the pictures. my family thought it was kind of silly, but played along:
        my mom and aunt were laughing, saying that the pictures kind of looked like a missing child poster. true, but he *is* kinda missing! ;)

        here's a better one of the signs with my aunt and baby cousin:
        and with my sister and liss again:

        my sister and i happened to be wearing the same skirt. it's like US weekly's "who wore it better?" but, don't answer that. no, really, don't.

        we also got some sweet gifts for choi boy! look at this freakin' adorable outfit from my sister:that kangaroo pocket? i can't even stand it!

        and, we got a package the day before choi boy's birthday from my cousin in ny -- she didn't even know it was his birthday! she was sending a belated shower gift and it happened to come right in time for our little guy's special day.yup, those are baby jeggings. love!

        the best part of our evening was coming home and finding a surprise package sitting outside our garage. our sweet, sweet friends, the snyders, stopped while we were out, *knowing* we were out, in order to leave us a surprise to come home to. isn't that incredible? love them! and love their gift:we love this book and were so excited to receive it as a gift. can't wait to read it to our son!

        we are so blessed. friends, family, food and fun gifts...can't ask for much more than that!